My name is Emilie Iggiotti and I am a photographer based in Edmonton, Alberta. I spent this year working for and with other photographers, attending workshops, doing social media, featuring other photographers’ work (for Tribe Red Leaf and Tribe Archipelago) and I just wanted to tell you a few things about these people I met.
We hear a lot of bad things about the photography community. Photographers who steal other people’s work, photographers who are bad business people, photographers who take advantage of other photographers, etc. We hear so many bad things and sometimes we tend to only remember the bad stuff. So, let me remind you a few of the good things that exist in this industry.
Being part of the photography industry means you have friends all over the world. You can post a message on a group announcing you are going to travel somewhere and you will always find someone who wants to meet you and hang out with you.
Being part of the photography industry means you can learn from other people everyday, all day long, anywhere you are. Blog posts, Youtube videos, even Snapchats or Instagram stories… there is always something you can learn from someone and it’s free. A new technique, a new preset, a new location, etc…. look for it and you will find it.
Being part of this community means you can move to the other side of the world and already have a friend there even before moving. When I was still in Montreal, I contacted a few photographers living in Edmonton, we started to chat, to comment on each other’s posts on Instagram, so when I moved there, I already had a group of friends I could relate on. How amazing is that?
Being part of this community means spending a lot of time on Facebook, Instagram or social media in general for sure. But it also means learning to know those people who live far away and then feel like you have been knowing them forever when you meet them in real life. How cool is that?
Being part of this community means you can spend one week at a workshop with a bunch of people you never met before and still feel like you are spending a week with a bunch of friends. Friends, not just colleagues or strangers, but yes friends.
Being part of this community means you can meet someone for the first time and already have so much in common. It’s all about the night time conversations at 1 in the morning, the laugh, the tears, the existential questions we share from the deepest places of our heart with people who just get us.
Being part of this community means being able to attend workshops and conferences all over the world and being reunited thanks to a common interest: photography. From the new photographer to the very experienced one, we all have something in common that many people don’t have. Of course, we disagree on so many subjects (“yes, I love those presets” / “Oh I don’t like those presets, it does not look like film at all” or “I love that ring of fire shot” or “I am so tired of those ring of fire shots”). But it is part of the community, it is the beauty of all of this. Being able to disagree with someone but still continue to share the same interest in photography, and in learning and growing together.
Being part of this community means you are never alone. Even when you think you are, you are not. There is always someone who went through the same shit as you, the same situation, the same struggle, the same discomfort. You will always find an echo if you ask “has anyone ever…”.
Being part of this community means you get to choose your colleagues and the people you want to work this. Everybody knows the quote saying “we can not choose our family” but I truly think we can choose our second family. Photography is our second family, and sometimes for some people it also becomes the first.
Being part of this community means we speak the same language even when we come from different countries. It also means we don’t care about your religion, your race, your politics preferences, we just see each other as artists first, as human beings.
Being part of this community means you can have friends everywhere in the world.
Dear photographers, I don’t know about you but I never heard of another industry where people can have all of that. How lucky are we?
So, I just wanted to share a few of these thoughts with you. Whatever you think of this industry, wherever you are right now, try to look to the bright sight. Nobody is perfect, no community is perfect, you just have to find the best in everyone, in every situation. Coming from Europe, then moving to Canada, and frequently visiting the USA, I feel extremely lucky to be part of this community.
On a personal note, I have been to two workshops this year (one about fashion photography and one about wedding and portrait photography) and I want to share a last thing. If you have the opportunity to learn from your peers, if you want to learn from other people, just do it. Don’t wait. And also, don’t think because you are an experienced photographer, this means you know everything and have nothing to learn. We always have something to learn from each other, all the time. So, be open, and if you think you made it and don’t need anything from anyone, you are completely wrong and you are missing so much .
So, dear photographers, I just wanted to tell you that you do not suck at all. And thank you for all you do. Sometimes, I hate you but most of the time, I like you… a lot. You are my friends, my family, my tribe.
Proud member of the photography community all over the world
Photo taken during the Let’s go workshop in Oregon two days ago.