It took me a long time before I could say, “I am a photographer” without feelings of intense doubt. I knew it wasn’t a lie, but I didn’t think it was the complete truth either. Over time, and at the urging of many people, I slowly realized that I really am a photographer and today I am comfortable saying that.
Over time, my goals with photography have changed and grown. Several years ago, I began to understand the difference between “taking a picture” and “creating an image.” In the first case, I frame the scene in my camera, release the shutter, and voila! I have taken a picture. But, as my evolution continued, I began to want more. I wanted to be more than a participant in the taking process. I wanted to be a creator. That is when I began to create images. It may seem like semantics, but it is a very important point: by creating instead of taking, I am proactively involved in a creative process that leads to something unique, something that only I can do.
That was when I began to consider myself an artist. So, I am a photographer learning to use photography as a creative artistic medium. That is a work in progress and I suspect it will be for a while, but I’m going through a similar evolution as I did when I learned to call myself a photographer. Wish me luck!