Berkeley, 2015 #cindyproject
Berkeley, 2015 #cindyproject

One of the things I hate is when people say snobby things like: “Nowadays because everyone has an iPhone, everyone thinks they are a photographer.”

The truth is, now we are all photographers.

What I love about photography and modern technology is how it has liberated many of us. It has democratized photography and art.

The iPhone is probably the best thing that happened to photography. In the past, only ‘experts’ knew how to make photos, with complicated technical settings, shooting film, and processing and printing them.

But now with smartphones, anyone with an eye or sense of curiosity can make an image. And whether their photo is any “good” or not, depends more on their creative vision. A good photo is less about the camera and technical settings, and more about the light, emotion, gestures in a photograph, the framing, the composition, and the moment.

Kettleman city, 2015 #cindyproject
Kettleman city, 2015 #cindyproject

To be a “real” photographer means that you have a sense of curiosity about the world. It doesn’t matter what camera you shoot with. It doesn’t matter how many followers you have on social media. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been shooting.

My mom is the best photographer. She shoots without hesitation, without discrimination, and whenever she takes a photo with her smartphone — she is always smiling. She always has her phone with her, takes photos while she’s backpacking in the mountains, when she is eating meals, and when she is traveling. The camera is an extension of her eye— and she lets her curiosity lead her.

Vancouver, 2015 (photo by Cindy Nguyen)
Vancouver, 2015 (photo by Cindy Nguyen)

Don’t listen if someone tells you that you’re not a “real” photographer. Because you are. As long as you have a passion for making images, for exploring, and for creativity — you are a real photographer, a real artist, and a real person.

Always block the words of photography snobs. They will always be around, insecure about their work, insecure about their gear, and trying to tear others down.

Keep clicking,
Eric

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