There are a number of different artistic subjects and hobbies out there to try and take part in. From painting and drawing, to sculpting, to playing the cello or violin, to photography, and so on. I truly believe that there is something out there for everyone, and that there’s always something artistic that even the least creative person can enjoy.
That being said, however, I have a bias towards photography. I believe that photography is one of the most, if not the most, freestyle art one can do.
The great thing about photography, to me at least, is that there really is so much freedom in it. You aren’t forced to stick to one particular subject, you can take photos of pretty much anything you want (with a few obvious exceptions) and you don’t need expensive equipment to do it. Obviously, the same could be said for other artistic subjects, but it’s more prevalent in photography.
For one, there’s so much to take photos of. There’s street photography, family photography, landscape photography, macro photography, pets, weddings, photojournalism, abstract, stock, nature, texture, and so on and so on. There is so many potential subjects, because it’s all in the real world. It’s all real life and I don’t think you can ever truly take too many photos. If you’ve taken 1000 photos of flowers, that’s great, but there’s still more to take. More flowers, more locations, or different subjects.
Secondly, there’s actually a lot of different methods or techniques you can use, both before, during and after taking photos. Of course there’s composition methods, such as the rule of thirds or golden ratio, but you’ve also got camera filters, external objects like additional/altered lighting and so on. There’s challenges to do such as shooting photos with your camera at your hip, or taking photos without looking at the screen or viewfinder, so essentially taking photos blindly. You can try a zoom burst, experiment with your aperture or shutter speed or ISO to get different effects. You can do so much in the editing stage, from basic photoshop to chopping up and pasting your images when printed. There seems to be no limit to how much you can do to edit, change or experiment with your photos.
There is, however, a stigma surrounding the equipment part of photography. Many people believe that to take a good photo, you need a high quality, expensive, professional camera. This isn’t the case, however. Even if you had an amazing camera, with high tech lens, it means nothing if you don’t know how to use it. DSLR cameras are tricky pieces of tech that don’t have much effect if you really don’t know how to use them. That being said, there’s other options. There’s the camera on your phone, for example! The camera most of use on a daily basis. Some phones these days, such as the most recent iPhones, have amazing quality similar to a DSLR. There’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be able to take good photos with your regular phone camera. Of course, there’s other cameras too, such as Polaroids (the Instax Mini being a popular choice), film cameras, or even a Holga camera, which gives you really interesting shots due to its old structure.
No matter what some people may say, there’s really no right or wrong in photography. There are rules and techniques, but similar to traditional art, they don’t determine quality. You just need to learn them in order to break them, just like artists need to learn anatomy in order to break or alter anatomy, to create a more stylised art style. With such a wide range of potential subjects and techniques, there can’t be a right or wrong. Whether you choose to carefully plot your composition, or shoot photos blindly at your hip, it doesn’t matter.
That’s the true beauty of photography; the sheer volume of options and possibilities. You can’t recreate someone else’s photo exactly. Your photos will always be unique to you, whereas you can recreate or trace or copy someone else’s drawing. And that is why I believe photography is the most freeing artistic subject out there.