Up until a few years ago, I had a certain affinity for the word “aspiring”. This issue first arose when I wondered how to refer to myself as a photographer. I often felt that it would be inappropriate for me to claim that I was a Photographer. I used “aspiring” out of humility, but I also used it out of timidity. I had been doing photography for several years, and I was proud of my work, but I was nervous about claiming it.
My former photography teacher gave me the valuable advice to drop the “aspiring” tag. I am a Photographer. Once I took that step, I found the result liberating and intimidating. I realized that calling myself a photographer is both an artistic and professional challenge.
Calling myself a photographer makes me responsible for my skills. Training wheels are great for a time. In the beginning, it was beneficial to describe myself as an “aspiring” photographer. However, allowing the label to linger makes it a shield against responsibility. As a “photographer”, it is my duty to improve if I fall short. “Aspiring” is not to blame anymore.
Also, as a “photographer”, I have accepted that I am playing the game. A good Aspiring photographer can take nice photos of trees on the weekend and be satisfied with hoarding them on their hard drive. A good photographer might want to look through those photos and consider what belongs in their portfolio. If they took nice photos of trees, they might consider what other subjects they can master. A good aspiring photographer can be satisfied with the occasional gig. A good photographer would consider who else needs photography in the area, and who their audience is.
L learned that I am not proclaiming myself as the best when I no longer call myself “aspiring”. I am neither average nor the best, but most importantly I have aim to apply and improve my skills. My design skills are not as strong as my photography skills yet, but in my mind.
Recently, a friend and I spoke to a professional designer and asked him for advice on what how to become a Web Designer. His advice was concise: “just do it”. One who designs is some kind of designer. If I call myself a designer, then I must accept the responsibility that comes with it.