When someone asks me how long I've been a photographer for, my answer would be 2 years. On the face of it, this doesn't sound like a long time but what does it really mean in terms of my experience? Am I more or less 'experienced' than someone who has been a photographer for 4 years? And does it really matter?
I spend nearly every day looking at ways I can improve myself and the qualities that are required as a self-employed photographer. Whether that's my technical ability with a camera, my business mind and of course, blogging.
Let's boil this down to purely look at the amount of time I spend honing my photographic skills. I'd say that over the last 2 years I've spent an average of 4 days a week on this. Now let's go back to my earlier question. Would you say I'm more or less experienced than someone who has averaged 2 days over the last 4 years? The answer is of course neither. We are equally experienced in practicing our skill.
Which is 'better'?
Experience isn't directly proportional to ability. So even if the 4 year photographer had averaged 1 day, would that make me 'better' then them? Not necessarily. The only way to assess if one photographer is better than another is to look at their respective portfolios. But then this begs another question. Photography is an art form and art is subjective, which means we can't all agree on what is 'better' and nor should we, we're all perfectly indifferent.
Gimme a 'HELL YEAH'!
So what can we take from this? Maybe we shouldn't ask how much experience a photographer or artist has and also accept that one persons preference may not be the next. Or maybe we should change the way we measure experience. Either way, if you like something, go with it. As my wife would say, if it's not a 'HELL YEAH' it's a 'no'.