Documentary Photographer?

If you haven’t guessed by now, I am a wordsmith. That is, I am always looking for just the right word for every sentence I write. Most of my posts are written a week or more before you see them. In that week between origination and publication I probably change a dozen words or more to something that better describes what the sentence is about.

Now to get on to the point of this post, whether we like it or not all of us are defined by the labels others give us and even the ones we give ourselves.

A couple of months ago I put out a post describing myself as:

  • Prolific Blogger
  • Nuanced Skeptic
  • Progressive Christian
  • Amateur Documentary Photographer.

I chose each of these words very carefully, but the one I want to spend the rest of this post on is the last one. Just about all the pictures I have taken over the years are of places I have visited. My Flickr feed now has about 50 albums containing many of those places. It gets about 3,000 views a month and I am kind of proud of that fact. But of course, I want more so I wouldn’t mind if you clicked on the above link to check it out yourself. 🙂

Getting back to the point, it just wasn’t enough to just say I am a photographer, I needed a better label for myself, so I searched for several days until I found the category “documentary photographer”. Now I will admit that most documentary photographers are those folks who run around poking their cameras into politician and other famous people’s faces or are in war scenes documenting the carnage.

I am definitely not one of those but I do spend considerable time and effort to become accomplished at taking pictures of structures and landscape. One of my main purposes for that is to get people interested in visiting the places I have photographed. Most of the historical sites I have visited in the last decade or so are struggling to stay afloat. It just seems that to most people, our history is just “not their thing” anymore. I very much agree with the words of Edmund Burke:

“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”

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