"Are you an artist?"
My wife and I were preparing to paint our bathroom and the guy behind the counter at Home Depot asked me this question in relation to the textured paint I had him mix for me.
"No," I said, "We just have a rough wall we're painting over."
I immediately wanted to change my answer. Although to tell him I'm a photographer and a musician was probably not the response he was looking for. But I think too often we are quick to dismiss our own skills and talents. I have often tried over the years to get my students to acknowledge their artistry. To claim the title of artist is to set the bar higher, to bear a standard that you must then attempt to live up to. So there is risk involved in making the claim. I sometimes hear photographers say "I just push the button." This is of course a self-deprecating comment. There is so much more to taking an outstanding photograph: the composition, placing the objects in the frame in a balanced and interesting way; selecting the appropriate lens, the desired depth of field, color, focus, and lighting. And that really just scratches the surface.
So the next time I go in Home Depot I'm going to go back to the paint department and tell the guy behind the counter that I am an artist! Whether he asks me or not.
Here are some shots from a recent trip to Charleston, SC:
Abstract image of tupelo trees and azaleas, shot with an iPhone.