The day I accepted I’m a photographer

· by Pablo Silva



That’s me photographing a Rain of Poetry during the Winter Festival of Ouro Preto and Mariana, Brazil, on 2013. | PHOTO: Íris Zanetti (edited)

So, it happened yesterday. I was taking a shower and thinking about some new photographic projects when I heard the click in my brain.
For three years I’ve been shooting the world and asking myself when I would become an actual photographer. I’ve already even talked to some fellows about that. I remember a day I was having a conversation with a friend at the university lobby when, as I justified why I didn’t call myself a photographer, I was hardly rebuked:
– What? Are you not a photographer for that?
She kept arguing why I should regard myself a photographer, but I was really set in my conviction:
– I don’t have a professional camera, I don’t work nor even earn any money with photography. I’m not good enough. I’m not a photographer.
And that was the speech I was always giving to everyone who asked me about that. ‘Till yesterday.
Yesterday I accepted my condition.
As I planned new photographs in the shower, I started again to think about when I would become a photographer. But then, instead of thinking of what would make me a photographer, I started thinking about what was keeping me from being one. Then my mind did that click.
First I started with the capitalist side of the discussion:
Why the hell would I be a photographer only when I’ve already bought a camera? Being a photographer comes on the package when you buy one? – So, if that’s true, which being a photographer from the box is better: Canon’s or Nikon’s? – Or why should I earn some money with my photographs – what I’ve already did – to be a photographer?
Then I realized that the idea I couldn’t be a photographer for not owning a camera and for not earning any money with photography was just the result of a fucking joke they did to me – the same they do to everyone: making you believe you are what you do for money.
After that, I tried to deal with a matter of value judgment and self-esteem:
How good should I be? I mean, should I reach a state where I could say “my photos are so good that I’m a photographer” to become one? Is that being a photographer?
Then I saw that, thinking like that, I’d end in one of this two fates:
Whether I would never be a photographer – even more setting some Sebastião Salgado’s photos as wallpaper of my screen and comparing them with that things I use to make out of the cameras. Or I would never be a good photographer – since if I had regarded myself as one, I would regard myself good enough and that would stagnate me.
Basically, that was what happened yesterday. That click was as if I had just answered all those questions and solved the problem. As in a shutter release, the light entered inside the dark box my mind becomes sometimes.
I still don’t have my gear. I don’t get the life with photography. And I’m not as good as Elliot Erwitt, Eugene Smith, Araquém Alcântara, my fellow Gentilly Costa with his great BWs¹ or my Festival’s colleague Íris Zanetti, who made the photo² of this post. I just started learning to write with light and to talk through this. I just like to tell stories with images. But it was that way, when I realized that my justifications were stupid, I accepted myself.
Unavoidably, I’m a photographer.
Yeah, I don’t have a camera nor any money and I don’t even have a website or a Flickr account. But you can follow me on Instagram. Click here Instagram.

¹ Take a look at some Tilly’s BW here amoung some others great color images.
² This one on the post is not the original. I edited it to work better on the blog. The original is here.
³ I’m not such an English writer. So, if you have found something strange or grammarly wrong, I’d really appreciate if you tell me.


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