I truly believe in the concept behind this graph. Not sure I concur with all data points supporting the various stages, especially since the timeline starts at the era of cell phones, but the general idea is good.
The following is an explanation of how I feel I have evolved (and am still evolving). I haven’t planned out this post so please excuse me if it babbles, digresses, blatantly switches topics on a whim, or leaves you without a sense of closure. =) Let’s travel back in time, shall we? (You are pretty much forced to if you continue to read).
No knowledge, poor/okay camera quality, no composition, no thought about my skill level:
I received my first camera in 1986 when I was 7 years old living in Michigan. It was an old Kodak, instamatic type similar to the photo below… yet mine was all purple! It came with a zippable, purple case with wrist strap, and a disposable flash. It used Kodak 110 film cartridges. Film was selected based on the ISO (200, 400, 600). I always selected 200 although I didn’t realize what that was at the time. All I knew is that I had 24 exposures to a roll so I had better not waste them. Part of the magic was receiving the photos back from processing to see how they turned out. It was not uncommon to have a finger in the frame, poor lighting, several all-black exposures, etc… Photography was fun to me but I never gave quality of photos a second thought (youth and not much control with the camera anyway). I’m fuzzy about what happened with that camera and when… but at some point, I broke, lost, or simply forgot about it.
No knowledge, okay camera quality, poor composition, no thought about my skill level:
The next photos I remember taking were during middle school gym class, my 8th grade dance, and all throughout high school. It’s terrible that I don’t remember the camera(s) used, only the memories of my mom taking me to the store to drop off the rolls of 35mm film/fill out the photo packets. Although a different type of film cartridge, the same outputs resulted as before: overall low quality, waiting for results after processing. Possibly because I was older, there were less fingers in photos and not as many all-black or yellow photos. There were no worries over any of that though because I had low expectations and standards for the photos.
No knowledge, good camera quality, low composition, early thoughts about skill level:
This brings us to late high school and throughout college (1996 to 2001). I had found it easier to simply purchase Kodak, 35mm, disposable cameras for all of my photography needs. Kodak was coming out with many varieties to suit different situations; with flash, funsaver, underwater, sport, etc… The photo quality looked pretty good and I was happy with most shots that I took. I believe this is when I started to consider my photos for early talent due to improved composition and more practice. I still had no knowledge about the elements of photography since the camera did all of the work. The limited exposures of 27 a roll and not being able to view pre-processed photos was not viewed as an issue since it was normal.
Little knowledge, great camera quality, okay composition, thought I was good:
Somewhere between 2001 and 2005, I received a Nikon 35mm camera as a gift. Started experimenting shooting with black and white film. Family and friends started asking if I would photograph them.
Little knowledge, good camera quality, okay composition, thought I was okay:
I received a Canon Powershot SD200 3.2MP digital camera as a Christmas gift from my parents in 2005. Loss of some quality and knowledge moving from 35mm to digital. Still, I loved it because it was super small and was my first camera with video capability! Also, I could preview and/or delete the shots before having them processed. This is where I really began experimenting with shots and trying to learn digital photography.
Little knowledge, great camera quality, good composition, thought I was great… and then bad:
In 2006, my ex-husband bought me a Sony Alpha DSLR A100 digital camera as a pre-wedding present. (I primarily used Picasa 3 for editing. Switched over to PS Elements 7 at the end). Looking back, I pretty much hate every session I did from 2006 to 2007 due to my inexperience and the terrible editing techniques used with Picasa. I was relying only on ‘my eye for photography’ without developing my technical skill. I feel that when I began studying, focusing on technique, and upgraded to Elements, I began doing better.
Low knowledge, excellent camera quality, okay composition, starting to think I have promise:
In 2011, I bought myself a Sony A900 24MP digital camera and PS CS5. Now that I awakened to all the factors that go into great photography, I feel that I am starting from scratch. I have raised the bar for what I feel is an acceptable photo. Also, knowing the full scope of areas I must learn, I have redefined my skill and talent of photography to very low. I feel that I finally am headed down the right path though.