Dispensing With Labels

Whenever I get into a discussion about my passion for photography I will almost always be asked what kind of photography I do.  Despite the number of times I have been asked this I still haven’t come up with a standard response.

I have shot landscapes and nature, but I do not consider myself a nature photographer.  I have shot urban scenes, but I do not consider myself an architecture or urban landscape photographer.  I have shot people and street scenes, but I do not consider myself a journalist, documentary, street or portrait photographer.  I actually find such “labels” constraining in both an artistic and a creative sense.

But the more that I think about this, isn’t being called a “photographer” simply another label. How about “artist”?  Another label.  The fact is that we have each been labeled from the moment we were born and have continued to be labeled throughout our lives.  Labels are used to identify, group or categorize us and more often than not we do not identify ourselves precisely with the label we are given.  Therefore, although others may feel a need to put us into context by categorizing us, should we create labels for ourselves?  This, I think is the reason why I struggle to come up with a response to the question of what sort of photography I do.  I don’t want to label myself, let alone give give someone another opportunity to label me.  I feel that if I called myself a nature, architectural, urban landscape, portrait etc. etc. photographer I may start to believe that this is what I have to do, when the reality is that I don’t identify myself with any such labels.

The images included with this post are part of a body of work that I have been putting together during the past few years from around my  hometown in the Northeast of England, which can also be found on my website at http://aransomephoto.com/Teesside/Teesside.html

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1 comment

  1. Hi Arthur,
    I can really identify with your post. Perhaps a category is a love of photography and desire to express a creative vision. I take photographs because I have fun doing it. I have the most fun when I photograph a broad range of subject matter, environments, and processes

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