Thought Leadership

Photography – an update

By Colin Walls

Anyone who knows me or that reads this blog will know that a big interest of mine, and my main hobby, is photography and has been for most of my life. Many photographers that I know have been rather constrained by recent events – lock-down has limited their ability to travel to the places where they can get the pictures that they want. Camera clubs have mostly been unable to meet, so interaction with other photographers has been limited – though a number of clubs, including my own, have been using the likes of Zoom very creatively and successfully. I actually believe that this will influence the ways that such clubs operate long after some kind of normality has been restored. My photography has continued regardless …

The goals and motivations of photographers vary widely. Some people are taking pictures to sell. Others are keen to win competitions. In both these cases they are creating images that will please someone else. There is nothing wrong with that, except, to me, it does not sound like fun; to each, their own. I do photography to please myself. I enjoy seeing a picture, taking the shot(s) and creating the final image. If somebody else likes it, that is a bonus. I know a few people who really “get” my photography and say very nice things; for that I am grateful. A few people, I suspect, think my pictures are pointless, but are mostly too polite to say so; I am grateful for that too.

For many years I have had some difficulty defining my photography. Most photographers have some kind of specialism – portraiture, landscape, natural history, macro, abstract, sport, street – there are many possibilities. I tried a lot of things, but eventually I found my “groove”. I call what I do “observational photography” [I invented the term, but I doubt that I was the first] and wrote about it here. Broadly, my goal is to look out for pictures that other people may not have seen and turn those into [hopefully] interesting images. Here are a few recent examples:

I have a gallery of images at DrawingWithLight, which is actually my Instagram feed. There is a new image here almost every day.

As I said that my motivation for doing photography is my own enjoyment, it may seem odd that I have any qualifications. I do not need any letters after my name, but I do respond well to having a goal or a challenge. So, quite a few years ago I applied for a Certificate from the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain – a CPAGB – and was successful. More recently, I applied for Associateship with the Irish Photographic Federation – an AIPF – which I wrote about here. The latest thing was to get Associateship of the Royal Photographic Society – an ARPS. This latter qualification follows on from the AIPF. So, now I have quite an alphabet soup after my name. A question will arise in due course. Both the AIPF and ARPS require me to remain a member [and pay the fees] of each organization if I want to use those letters after my name. Do I want to continue paying? Maybe I should just append “(lapsed)” to each of them? And maybe a Fellowship should be my next goal.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at