Happy Anthropology Day!
What is Anthropology? In the simple definition, it is the study of humans and culture. There are four subfields: cultural, archaeology, biological, and linguistics.
So what does this have to do with photography?
Well everything to me. I will explain further.
I received my BA & MA in anthropology with hopes and dreams of making a career out of it. However, life happened. I fell in love with my husband and married into the military life, not knowing how truly difficult it would be to pursue a career like that. Like so many military spouses, I had countless applications that never went anywhere; didn’t get interviews, or even call backs. Why? Because employers know that you are only going to be in an area for a temporary amount of time before your spouse is up for orders and you have to move again. This can sometimes be as often as every 2-5 years. No one wants to hire someone that they know won’t stick around and that could move away at a moments notice.
Again, how does photography and anthropology coincide?
Let visit what the basic definition of anthropology is again: the study of humans and culture. Throughout the history of man, humans have recorded their lives from cave paintings to murals to the written words….and photography.
I have always enjoyed photography. I was very involved in art in high school and undergraduate school. I took classes while at college, did photography for work functions and events, while on vacations and traveling, and even did some portrait sessions here and there. But I never thought about pursuing it as a career until my husband brought it up.
Up until that point, I regretted going to graduate school because I felt I had wasted the time with no resulting career. I had student loans and broken dreams.
My husband knew that I loved taking pictures and photography, he encouraged me to the research it and pursue it the right way. And I DID. I started photography classes studying different fields and started an internship with a professional photographer whom already had a prestigious career. That all led to me discovering what it was I was missing in my life; what I felt completed me…and that led to more thinking about how the two fields actually coexist and how I could not only merge them but use the merging of both to better my craft.
Photography and culture compliment one another. Photography captures one's (or group's) tradition, stories, and culture; and allows for those experiences to be shared with others. I want to capture moments that allow others to tell and share their stories with family, friends, and future generations. My educational experience gives me an advantage in understanding and adapting to different cultural customs and traditions, as well as understanding the individual!
For instance…living in a foreign country, I have discovered that the culture of photography itself differentiates between countries and the role that photography plays in an individual’s life and how they value it. In the few weddings that I photographed here in Australia, I have learned how different and similar wedding traditions and culture is between the US and Australia. I’m so grateful that I’m afforded the opportunity to see both sides and I’ll strive to use the knowledge to the benefit of each and every one of my clients.
So Happy Anthropology Day!