"Faith is Caught NOT Taught" | Excire

“Faith is Caught NOT Taught”

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By Skip Cohen


I first read that quote on a sign in front of a church many years ago, but think about it as it applies to being a photographer and artist.  You have to have faith in yourself.  You have to believe in what you’re doing.  You have to understand not only the craft, but the human spirit. And, it’s the human spirit that should be at the top of your list.

The definition of the ultimate photograph is one that moves people. You can’t move people and create images that tug at their hearts if you’re not comfortable with your own heart.  So, it all becomes sort of obvious – it’s faith in yourself that creates confidence and builds your strength of character and gets your heart where it should be.

So, if the world around you has filled you with a little doubt now and then, and challenges your faith as an artist, then think about the following:

1. No career field, with the exception of modern medicine gives the world what photographers do! 

What would a newspaper look like without photography?  Or, a wedding album? The list goes on and on.

2. A wedding album is the first family heirloom of a brand-new family!  

The dress will never be worn again.  The food is gone.  The band has stopped playing, but the wedding album will last forever, sadly longer than half the marriages performed today.

3. Your images capture memories.

You’re the eyes of your client, or as a serious hobbyist your family.  Your role is to capture moments they might miss, whether it’s at a wedding or a “day in the life” shoot of their children or opening presents this Christmas.  

Nobody can teach you to have faith in yourself, and that church slogan is dead-on in that it’s caught, not taught.  So, how do you catch it and keep it?  As a professional, stay focused on your career path and your subjects. As a serious hobbyist appreciate the passion you have for life with a camera in your hands. Learn every possible technique you can. Make it a point to understand photography before you push the shutter button. Know your gear – know your lighting – know your lab. And never compromise on quality!

© Witthaya
© Witthaya

Photography records the gamut of feelings written on the human face, the beauty of the earth and skies that man has inherited, and the wealth and confusion man has created. It is a major force in explaining man to man.”

-Edward Steichen    

“I wish more people felt that photography was an adventure the same as life itself and felt that their individual feelings were worth expressing. To me, that makes photography more exciting!”

-Harry Callahan

Here’s a fun way to use Search or Search Pro to help you have more faith in your growing skill set. Assuming you have some big catalogs now initialized, pick one of your favorite subjects and search your images by similarity or keywords. Then look at how you captured some of the older photographs with the way you shoot today. Most of you will see not only changes in style and technique, but you’ll have fun seeing changes in trends, especially if you’re looking at older photographs of people and places.