Advice for young photographers

David-Alan-Harvey

A few days ago I stumbled upon a very interesting post by Erik Kim: “35 Magnum Photographers give their advice to aspiring photographers.” Useful for young, not-so-young, curious, and transposable for non-photographers.

Full post here:

http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2011/09/26/35-magnum-photographers-give-their-advice-to-aspiring-photographers/

Here’s the one by David Alan Harvey (image above also to his credit) :

“You must have something to ‘say’. You must be brutally honest with yourself about this. Think about history , politics, science, literature, music, film, and anthropology. What affects does one discipline have over another? What makes ‘man’ tick? Today, with everyone being able to easily make technically perfect photographs with a cell phone, you need to be an ‘author’. It is all about authorship, authorship and authorship. Many young photographers come to me and tell me their motivation for being a photographer is to ‘travel the world’ or to ‘make a name’ for themselves. Wrong answers in my opinion. Those are collateral incidentals or perhaps even the disadvantages of being a photographer. Without having tangible ideas, thoughts, feelings, and something almost ‘literary’ to contribute to ‘the discussion’, today’s photographer will become lost in the sea of mediocrity. Photography is now clearly a language. As with any language, knowing how to spell and write a gramatically correct ‘sentence’ is, of course, necessary. But, more importantly, today’s emerging photographers now must be ‘visual wordsmiths’ with either a clear didactic or an esoteric imperitive. Be a poet, not a technical ‘writer’. Perhaps more simply put, find a heartfelt personal project. Give yourself the ‘assignment’ you might dream someone would give you. Please remember, you and only you will control your destiny. Believe it, know it, say it.”