Fire Engine Red, Cherokee, NC - 2006
(Click on photo to enlarge.)
I once read that every photographer should have a specialty, a kind of photography that they are known for. The example they gave was Ansel Adams being known for his landscape photography. Adams also did some portraits, and for a lengthy portion of his life made his living doing commercial product photos, but landscapes are what people think of first when they hear the name Ansel Adams.
Do I have a specialty? I don't think so. Portraits are the only thing I've ever made much money doing, but I probably enjoy nature photography just as much. I've also tried my hand at still life, and street photography, and I've enjoyed those too. The few opportunities I've had to try car photography were both challenging and fun, and I'm sure I'd like to do some more of that. Photographing Civil War re-enactments is a relatively new thing for me that's filled with its own brand of excitement. Documentary photography in the vein of Walker Evans is another area I've explored, but I don't think that would qualify as a specialty for me as it did for Evans.
So I came to the conclusion that I don't really need a "specialty". As a hobbiest, I can do what I want, when I want. The term amateur originally referred to one who did something for the pleasure of doing it. That's me. I enjoy trying all different kinds of photography. I guess that's what keeps me interested - there is always something new to try. There are new techniques to examine, new subjects to explore, and new ways to see the same subjects I've done before. I never get bored with photography because no shot is ever exactly the same.