I recently wrote a small post on Instagram regarding what type of photographer I feel I am and I realised that I only had the confidence to do this because of the Masters. I'd debated for so long about doing the course that it's refreshing to see results before I've even finished.
I used to be very apologetic about what I did (Fine art photography). It was important to me, but that didn't make it important in the grand scheme of things so I wouldn't push it, despite the subject affecting most people. Not now though. Don't get me wrong, I'm still socially awkward and public speaking is not a love of mine, but by doing the Masters, I've grown in confidence and am now able to strike up conversations about my work.
The months and months of research and the seemingly endless critical underpinning has given me a solid foundation upon which to stand and start a dialogue about my work and the underlying topic and I've realised that this is the way forward for me now.
I used to think I was less of a photographer because I don't know much about cameras. Full frame, wide angle, macro etc are just words and they don't interest me at all. I'm happier creating with whatever I have in my hands or available to me at the time. That doesn't mean I'm dismissive of the technical side of photography, not at all! I understand perfectly well the benefits of certain lenses and cameras for certain projects, it's just that I am more interested in creating the art than the how to — and through my growing confidence I've come to realise that it's okay to be like this.
I shoot film, it's the media I prefer but I also use and appreciate digital. I use large format for most of my art but that doesn't mean I'm not still in love with medium format or 35 mm. I don't know the spec for many cameras, couldn't tell you how much a certain lens should sell for, can't identify many old cameras just by sight, but that doesn't mean my images are lesser than those with this knowledge. I'm doing just fine as I am and I don't need to explain myself, I just have to make sure my work is underpinned.
The masters has taught me to educate myself on what is important to me and what will inform the images I produce. It's given me permission to explore a topic and give my opinion on it, without the need to apologies. It's taught me that it's okay to take your time to produce work, that it's okay to spend months researching, that it's fine to do things at your own pace.
It's obviously taught me much much more but these lessons were not something I had anticipated learning when I signed on for the Masters. I'm just so thankful that I ultimately chose to go ahead and do it because I certainly wouldn't be where I am now without it!