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What Makes a Photographer?


In an age where everyone has a camera in their pocket and fashion magazine covers are being shot with iPhones, what makes a photographer? Erik Wahlstrom muses on what he calls ‘the democratization of photography’ in this 5-minute video.

Wahlstrom creates weekly videos for his YouTube channel, and in his lifetime has seen the act of sharing video progress from home camcorder footage shared with friends and family to full HD video shared with the entire world via YouTube.

The same progression has occurred in photography, and Wahlstrom uses the example of wedding photography, in which the market has become incredibly saturated, making breaking through very difficult. Social media has made photography ubiquitous, with millions of photos being shared every second.

With so much beautiful photography being created and shared every day, it’s easy to get disheartened and feel that your own work is just a drop in the bucket. As Wahlstrom says:

It’s easy to worry that everything’s been done; that all photographs have been taken. For this reason, I think it’s important to remember that anyone can sit down and write a story. Anyone can pick up a guitar and strum, anyone can paint a picture. This accessibility hasn’t in any way diminished great works of music, literature, or art. Photography is the same.

So, what is a photographer? Wahlstrom says that maybe it all boils down to perception. “Do you think you’re a photographer? Then you probably are,” he says.