“Look at the things around you, the immediate world around you. If you are alive, it will mean something to you, and if you care enough about photography, and if you know how to use it, you will want to photograph that meaningness.” – Paul Strand
I hate it when someone asks, “So, what kind of photographer are you?” Maybe I hate that question because I never really have an answer. I used to feel that my inability to answer that question suggested I was deficient in some way. Maybe I’m unable to answer it because I have yet to define my own style. Maybe it is because I am unwilling to perfect an aspect of my craft by limiting its focus. Or maybe it’s just low-grade schizophrenia.
Whatever the reason, even though I’ve been taking pictures for at least half a century, I still can’t answer that question. I love to photograph nature, but I don’t think of myself as a nature photographer. I love to photograph people, but I don’t think of myself as a portrait photographer. I love street photography. But I don’t think of myself as a documentary photographer.
I photograph a lot of people, a lot of places and a lot of things. And I take pictures for a lot of diﬀerent reasons. But the one thing I hope all my photographs have in common is that I care about the subject I’m photographing. If I take a picture of a person or place or moment, it’s because, at some level, what I’m photographing means something to me.
It’s as simple (and as complex) as that. I take pictures of things I find meaningful—an object, an experience, a person. And the more I pay attention to what’s around me, and practice this way of looking at the world, the richer life becomes.