On Professions in Photography and Success


“A portfolio of random pictures, or owning an expensive camera would just not be good enough.”

With millions of images floating in cyberspace and thousands vying to be the next photographic guru or god, drowned in the cacophony is the joy of its practice. What is forgotten is that photography is all about things seemingly insignificant and infinitesimally small. It takes an enormous amount of passion, discipline and will to snatch a moment out of countless others and make it something truly special.

And yet, doing this may not be enough if you wish to get anywhere beyond a bit of fleeting appreciation. It would have to be done again and again, with prolific consistency, until it becomes a way of life. That is one way to go about it. It is not all that needs to be done, but it would be a good way to start. It would take inclination, passion, knowledge, resilience, time and money. Of these, money can be interchanged with time. The lack of any of the rest would mean that you do not start off in the first place.

The world of photography is changing rapidly and becoming more specialised. Tomorrow, being someone with a portfolio of random pictures, or someone who owns an expensive camera, would just not be good enough. You could, of course, start renting your camera out for a fee and keep shooting too. So, is there more to professions in photography than photography as a profession?

The moment a student thinks of a career in photography, the first option is usually fashion photography. The second alternative would be photojournalism. Someone who has explored a bit more may opt for product photography. Or portfolios. And it ends there. It is time Indian photographers woke up to the fact that photography can be just as diverse as any other discipline. You could be a photo historian, a collector, or a curator. You could be a photo editor, researcher or a forensic expert. The idea is to find the best work-around so that you can enjoy the art for the sake of it. You never know… someday, you may make it big without knowing it! Wouldn’t this be the best way to be successful?

— K Madhavan Pillai
Better Photography


This article originally appeared in the August 2014 issue of Better Photography.


Tags: K Madhavan Pillai, portfolio