Every photographer learns their craft from many sources.
Firstly (hopefully) we learn to “see” by looking at the world around
us. “Seeing” is believing.
Secondly, we learn from looking at photographs. In today’s world,
every human being with a cell phone, and that’s every human being, is
a photographer. In a world made up of photographers, we have much to
view and appraise.
We can also learn from the tutorial aspects of the internet, and of
course from good old fashioned books. Some of you remember books.
Of course, the trials and errors of shooting, viewing, and correcting
can teach you much. In fact, it is one of your best teachers.
I am sure that most of you, like me, have also learned from
photography pros who teach the nuts and bolts and the arts and crafts
of image making. I hopefully have helped others along that way as
well, especially since I used to charge money for that endeavor, but I
have learned from many, many others.
I did study for a few weeks many years ago with a commercial photographer in
Colorado, photographing architecture, public relations and more, but
other than that, I have never taken any hands on instruction. Having
said that, I have learned from many, both by reading the books of
those who I admired, and above all, by looking at the work of others,
over and ever.
From Mathew Brady (Civil War), to Ansel Adams to John Shaw and on and
on. I studied what they did, and read what they wrote.
If you find some of the photos in this post from today’s photographers
to be a bit small in physical size, these are two hardcore
professionals. Even in this digital age they do not give their work
away. Therefore, I took what they allow us to view, and was happy to
I can vaguely remember, when I insisted on being paid for any form of
reproduction of my images. I have been giving them away for so long
now, that it seems like centuries ago.
One photographer who had an influence on me was Bryan Peterson. Bryan
was/is a commercial photographer who also practices the art of general
outdoor and nature photography. Amidst my old weathered books on
photography, I recently found an art of composition style book on my
shelves and it was from Bryan. While the technology has changed, I was
amazed at how much could still be garnered from his careful thought
process and artistic heart. Maybe there is still hope for me and my
Another who had the “teaching effect” on me is the aforementioned John
Shaw. I loved Shaw’s mastery of everything in nature, and more. He is
in fact a technical master, with more than enough art as an
Through all of life, we are subject to the results of teachers.
(No, I will not get political today about teachers). Even when we do not realize it,
there are those in our lives such as parents, work bosses and even our
friends who help to educate us, and help to open our eyes and our
minds. Sometimes people have a cumulative affect on us, and ten or
twenty years later we realize what they have taught us.
Nature is a teacher.
Above all, life is a teacher. Like nature, it is a Gift from God which
enlightens us day by day. Sometimes with a gentle caress, and
sometimes with a ton of bricks on the head. Either way, hopefully,
sooner or later the light goes on for us.
The only thing better than teaching, is learning. Especially when you
can study behind teachers who know that fact.
So here’s to all the teachers we encounter in life, and here’s to each
and every one of us, for sharing what we know and what we see, so we
can help instruct those who come after us, and make their journey more
A few (humbly) from your’s truly