The beginning I shall say. I am a poor photography student from Chicago... well, not so poor since my parents still support me and pay for my rather expensive tuition :).
I was hoping that maybe (and hopefully) I would be able to earn some money by selling my photographs. Who can blame me?
I have never thought about becoming a professional in this field. It is funny but I used to think "How lame is getting a degree in photography?" Since then I've grown up a little (my brain filled up with wiser thoughts), and I cannot forgive myself for thinking such stupidities. Photography is the coolest and the most fascinating thing I can imagine myself doing. For me it is a process, which is composed with many different parts and tasks. Let me give you some examples.
-Film camera example:
1. Find a shadow and load the film into the camera.
2. Spend ten minutes on proper exposure, another ten on framing, yet another ten on waiting until the unwanted objects (ex. people) move out of the framed picture, take a deep breath and breathe it out slowly and during that time press the shutter and shoot. Repeat these steps 23 or 35 times.
3. Load the film onto a metal/plastic reel. Metal ones are my favorites. The worst thing happens if it is not loaded properly... what do we get? White undeveloped pieces of film which look rather disgusting.
4. Develop the film. One of the most boring processes; however, very essential. If done properly, I just saved half of my time. If not I will have to worry about burning my agitation marks... and try doing it right with one approach... (sigh).
5. You take out the film after it has been fixed and you pray down on your knees to have ANYTHING show up on your film.... Oh Thank You Lord! All 36 exposures look fine. Let me dry the film, cut it, leave fingerprints and tons of dust.
6. Printing!!! How fun! I love printing... especially when my negatives are exposed just right. If they're not... well, I just hit my head with an easel (the corner of it... ouch!!!).
7. My favorite part. You have your blank piece of printing paper, waiting to be developed. You put it in tank where the developer is, wait around 25 seconds and then magic begins. I always feel like a kid in Disneyland - I get to see how nothing becomes something, and that something is my hard work, time, patience and devotion. Let me tell you; I've never had kids but I guess being a photographer is like becoming a parent. You take care of it properly and you get rich and beautiful harvest.
8. Again, less satisfying part - washing the prints. But we don't wanna skip it. What if in 50 years this image becomes Dorothea Lange-famous photograph and it starts to become ugly and yellow? Brrrr....
-And now... Digital camera example:
1. You decide to buy the most expensive camera that you can afford with your income, you go out and shoot. (Later in life you realize that the sales man ripped you off, you didn’t have to get half of the items he said would be “necessary”).
2. After some time you manage to recognize the buttons and proper use.
3. You download a bootleg version of Photoshop and now you're able to process your images sometimes creating pieces of art out of this world... of course if you're good at doing so.
4. After two months you decide to join a photo forum to post your photographs. Now there are two options: 1. if you managed to operate your camera and Photoshop, read tons of books about photography, and start taking decent photographs other professionals on the forum will accept you and leave harsh words for the second option :).
5. After a year, you realize that your previous work is nothing but crap and decide to educate yourself. You read, read, read; visit more, more, more photo forums where you get examples and start out again with some fresh ideas, take a photo course or go to an art school... Gosh, now you see that your work has improved!
6. Close to two years you realize that you can't imagine yourself doing anything else except taking photographs, spend hours in chemical and digital labs, be a part of the community where people with bigger lenses are the bosses... but you don't care.
It's your passion, you create your own style, personal way of seeing the world around you... and that is what truly makes you happy.