People say wisdom comes with age. And that makes a lot of sense when you think about it. As we grow older, we gain more experience, more knowledge, and more skills. Apply that to photography, and lots of things happen. We learn more about art in general, we pick up new techniques, we become experts at handling our cameras. Over time, and with enough practice, putting together solid compositions becomes instinctive. We just know how because we’ve spent years doing it over and over again.
So in that sense, we gain photographic wisdom as we age. Or, we should, anyway—and I believe that most all of us do.
That’s just one benefit of aging as a photographer. There is another to consider, too. See, as we age, we tend to slow down some. Some of us by quite a lot depending on health or other issues. How could that possibly be a benefit? You might be surprised!
Think back on your younger years as a photographer. Or if you’re just beginning as a photographer right now, then pause to consider how you go about taking photographs. For a lot of us as photographic youngsters, everything is bright and fresh. The whole experience is new. There are so many photographs we’ve not taken yet.
From that standpoint, it’s exciting, and many of us find ourselves rushing around to take photographs. It’s a rush to get to the next photographic destination, and it’s a rush to tour that destination and see as many possible photographic opportunities as possible, to create as many interesting photographs as we can. Our excitement and our ambition to explore the world through our lenses drives us to always be pushing forward on some new project.
But what happens when you age? You slow down. Maybe those hikes become harder because your joints just aren’t what they used to be, the aches and pains make you hike slower and stop more to take breaks. Or maybe you’ve not yet reached a point where health is an issue, but still, some of that sparkly newness has worn off, so you don’t find yourself hustling quite so much as you used to. It doesn’t feel so urgent anymore to go out and conquer the world via images. You have more patience to turn photographic trips into leisurely affairs.
And that is where the benefit is. Because when you slow down, it gives you the chance to really pause and take a look around at your surroundings. That’s when the magic really happens. So much of photography comes from careful observation, and from those observations leading you to see things in ways most other people might not. So slowing down, whether it’s because of advancing age or because you’ve schooled yourself to do so, can be a major benefit. Take your time and search for those unusual perspectives to create photographs that capture the imagination.