Thursday, February 11, 2010
Why Major in Photography?
Famous poet Carrie Latet once said, “A photograph is a memory in the raw.” Since the first permanent photograph was produced in 1825, the study of photography has entranced people of all ages and walks of life. We’ve come a long time since the first pinhole cameras of ancient days, and as a result, there’s a lot to learn about how to take a picture. It’s no surprise that entire schools have been established solely for the purpose of studying and perfecting the craft of photography. For the recent high school grad, though, the question becomes, why major in photography? There are a couple of reasons.
First, it is certainly a wonderful artistic outlet. There are literally thousands of different ways an individual can tweak and morph the outcome of a photograph. From different forms of developing to different lenses that can be used to different types of cameras altogether, the photographer can use their own forms of artistic expression to capture their view of the world. Moreover, there is an endless supply of material. From photographing people to nature to inanimate objects, the ordinary can be made extraordinary in the hands of a gifted photographer. Majoring in photography gives you the chance to learn all of these different techniques and possibilities. Who knows? You may even get a chance to discover one of your own.
Second, there is a wide variety of jobs you can pick up with a photography major. You can work in journalism, taking stock photographs for newspapers and magazines. People in this line of work sometimes get to travel around the world, which is more than most people can say for their jobs. You can work as an event photographer, available for hire for weddings, parties or other special events. In this line of work, you get to be present for some of the most joyful moments in a person’s life. It winds up as a unique opportunity to study human nature. If you can find a place with high demand, you can even set up your own studio, doing portraits of every sort. You’ll find yourself doing senior portraits, pregnancy photo shoots, engagement shoots, and yearbooking for growing children. All of these pay varying amounts, but it can certainly provide a living.
Finally, photography is a lot of fun. The classes are often light hearted and easy to participate in. Your assignment may be to go take ten good photos of falling leaves, or to develop your favorite photo in ten different ways. Instead of writing massive research papers for your final, you may have to create a portfolio of photos on the subject of your choice. While the expenses associated with cameras and developing supplies may seem high, unlike the books bought by your peers, you will be able to use these materials in a professional sense when you graduate, too.