When Photography Meets Craftsmanship

There's so much time and energy invested to create work that you hope people can appreciate. But in a world of cameras, phones, pictures of our work sometimes feel like we're de-valuing our craftsmanship.

Art, in any form, is like an extension of yourself. More and more people are tech-savvy and are produce Instagram-worthy photos. However, the over-saturation of images can muddle one’s perception of the artist’s identity and what they stand for. There are SO MANY different photos, and everyone is taking photos of everybody or everything. We attend events, even weddings, where almost everyone is taking pictures. Nobody is asking for anybody’s permission, they just snap and click. People love to take pictures because it is fun, they can share their experience, and it’s easy to just press the shutter. People with a creative eye (and some without any creative eye!) cannot resist taking photographs to somehow try to “capture” the essence of the moment or the view of something or somebody beautiful, unique or exquisite.

Speaking of exquisite…this stained glass piece can also be a gift tag with a bottle of wine. I saw this at the Hill-Stead Museum’s May Market. I love how artisans like Jean-Paul hand-craft, twist and turn material to create one-of-a-kind pieces. Even if some pieces look the same, if you look closely, they’re all slightly different.

If you are an artisan, business owner, hobbyist, or anybody who creates some THING, you know that there’s a lot of love, passion, dreams, thought, calculations, skill, education, or sacrifice of time and commitment to create something. The things that you create are results of your energy, and your art becomes an extension of yourself. So when people start snapping pictures of your things, it is as if they are actually photographing you, your property…yourself.

You are not just a person with stuff.

You are not just “some person” with “some stuff.” And, I am not just “some photographer” who likes to take random pictures. I don’t photograph with the huge Canon 5D Mark III cameras anymore, so my current cameras might look small and not as “professional-looking”. But they are powerful in the right hands. I’m not just any photographer. I am Ling, who sees the world with the eyes God specifically made to photograph people & things. I’m a full-time wedding photographer. I pay my bills through observing the world’s people and things, calculating each moment, hesitate and meditate for the image, and create a print or digital image for someone who values the things or people being photographed. And you, as a creator of something are not just any person. You’re an artist.

When you feel violated.

The more time and passion spent into creating art, the more I feel like my work is not to be understood lightly, or easily duplicated. Can you relate? I’m sure some works of art are so personal that it feels unsuitable for any person to just shoot away and take pictures of your art with the camera. Nobody fully 100% understands how much of YOU goes into your art. People snapping photos of your creation haphazardly is like violating your being, and you wonder if they actually appreciate what you made. Some works of art are so personal that in absence of permission for photography, it feels like the person with the camera is trespassing or trampling over your work.

Maybe you don’t want photos of your stuff ANYWHERE. You don’t want to see any images of your love, your art, or you, in any random place. You don’t want that photographer to take any picture, no matter how good the photos could be, no matter where the image is going. Don’t even take one photo, and delete the pictures you have. Or, I don’t need a professional photographer in my life right now. Get out of my face.

As a professional photographer and artist myself, I say: THAT’S OKAY.

You’re just not ready to say, “Here I am, world.”

You’re not completely ready to be exposed and show yourself into the world. Sometimes we just don’t see the need for digital or physical prints of anything. Or even advertising and cross-promotion. Even so, that means you’re still not ready to “put yourself out there”. And, there’s nothing wrong with that. You’re just not ready to say, “Here I am, world.”

I could easily feel very vulnerable when sharing my images, especially when there’s time put into this, and I feel so connected to what I photographed. There was a time when I wasn’t ready to share my skills and photos with anyone. If someone shared or did a screenshot, I felt violated. Especially if they cropped out my watermark, or applied some butt-ugly dark filter over my images. If I said anything, it really didn’t make a difference. I felt violated, but I was just not ready for the world I was to serve.

One thing to remember before you take your next picture…

So the next time you pick up your camera or phone, whether it be at a family event, or even a wedding, don’t just snap away. Think about it. Immerse yourself in the moment and envision your ideal image. Whatever you do, don’t forget that the person or thing that you are photographing is beautifully and wonderfully made by someone with a lot of love.

Wedding guests, don’t forget that either!

freshwater pearl necklace from The Lady Ming, a CT artisan at the Hill-Stead Museum’s May Market 2019.

Thanks for reading my ramblings, I appreciate any feedback or comments. I’m a fanatic about how human behavior relates to business growth, success, and what it means to build a brand. I’m not perfect, and always learning. I’m also a people-loving (mostly), Enneagram type 2 ambivert who loves to photograph soulmates getting married at farms all over New England. Do you know anyone who is looking for a kick-butt wedding photographer?



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