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Thread: Why Do We Photograph?

  1. #11
    William Whitaker's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    No Fixed Abode

    Re: Why Do We Photograph?

    Thank you for your replies all. I regret wearing my heart on my sleeve. It's just that sometimes life wears ya down and you end up questioning everything you once believed in. And you start to lose your faith.

    No, my photography is NOT about sating the masses. It's about being who I am, expressing visually what I feel when I'm face-to-face with my subject. It's all about ME. As egotistical as that sounds, it's true.

    I had to write an artist statement for that show. Never had written one before.

    My photography represents my impressions of the world through the filter of my mind. My prints are glimpses into my own psyche; explorations into the experiences life gives us.

    Subject matter may or may not play into what I choose to photograph. To me it is mostly immaterial. The photograph is about my experience while viewing a scene. In most cases I felt a strong compulsion to photograph a particular scene. It is those images which I feel are strongest and which are most revealing about me as an artist.

    It is my hope that you may join me in my visual exploration of the world and experience some of the same wonder and amazement as I do.

    I'm sorry if I sounded mercenary in the OP. It's about way more than money.

  2. #12
    Tim Sandstrom
    Join Date
    May 2006
    San Jose, CA

    Re: Why Do We Photograph?

    I do it because I have to. I'd quit if I could, but I can't

    Questions are good, dissatisfaction can be a good starting place, like winding a spring, though it seldom seems so at the time.

    Being too serious and then surrendering or giving up that seriousness can lead to creative play, at least for me

    Good luck in your continuing quest...

    Last edited by dasBlute; 15-Oct-2017 at 12:55.

  3. #13

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Leipzig, Germany

    Re: Why Do We Photograph?

    Will, you ask more than one valid question. People photograph for all kinds of reasons and gratifications, so I'm not getting into that right now.

    A show or a publication is a great and very satisfying way to bring your vision to a point. You have a date set and a wall to fill, so you bring your works in order, dig up the fragments from their boxes and drawers, tie up the loose ends. Very cathartic.

    The experience that everyone praises your images, but nobody actually buys them, seems to be the rule rather than the exception. They actually drink all your wine at the opening, too... This is my experience in more than 25 years of exhibiting. I have two art/photography degrees, but don't even try to make a living with art. I know it can be done, but it's a hard business. I do assignments for money and art for pleasure. But there is no way I will stop making art and the occasional show. The good part ist: Nobody has to like my art, except I.

  4. #14

    Join Date
    May 2015
    SooooCal/LA USA

    Re: Why Do We Photograph?

    Tough question, but why would a junkie stand out in the rain at night, trying to get a "fix", but I might stand out in the rain some night, waiting to end a long exposure, so if drug addiction is a disease, what about the other??? :-@

    Steve K

  5. #15

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Greenwood Lake NY USA

    Re: Why Do We Photograph?

    Two things (limiting to photography for pleasure not profit)

    there is a human urge to make stuff (prints)

    the world is beautiful and cruel and we have things to say about that

  6. #16

    Join Date
    Jul 2017

    Re: Why Do We Photograph?

    I recommend Robert Adams book titled Why People Photograph (by aperture), available from amazon. I believe this should be a must read book for anyone contemplating a life in photography, or any of the arts really.

  7. #17
    Randy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Virginia, USA

    Re: Why Do We Photograph?

    Will, I have done one individual show at our local art gallery probably 5-6 years ago, but it was mostly digital. I sold a couple framed prints in the friends and family. In 2016, I entered a couple 4X5 cyanotype prints in two local shows and got a 1st and a 2nd place...a couple hundred dollars in prize money...but no sales.

    I don't know. I have pretty much resigned myself to the attitude of not caring if no one likes my prints. I do it strictly for myself. If I win, fine, if I make a sale, fine, if I don't make a cent, fine. As long as I am happy from beginning to end: deciding on the subject, setting up the camera, exposing, processing, printing, etc, etc - that is what makes me happy. If someone else shows an interest in one of my prints, that is icing.

    So, read your last paragraph. That's the best attitude as far as I am concerned.

    Where are you in NC Will? I am in VA, just about an hour above Greensboro.

  8. #18

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Elko, Nevada

    Re: Why Do We Photograph?


    I can't help myself.

    I see something that grabs my attention and I take a picture.

    I think I am really just collecting all the things I have seen in my life that I thought were worth remembering.

    A sunset here, a flower there, my grandson laughing.

    It is not likely any of it would ever sell.
    The Viewfinder is the Soul of the Camera

    If you don't believe it, look into an 8x10 viewfinder!


  9. #19

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    San Joaquin Valley, California

    Re: Why Do We Photograph?

    I'll hazard a guess---for the same reasons why a caveman painted pictures of critters on the ceiling of a cave in France.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  10. #20
    Dave Karp
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Los Angeles, CA

    Re: Why Do We Photograph?

    I love it. I have never had a show. Never tried to have one. I barely have enough time to do photography, but I do enjoy it so. Creating a fine print is an enjoyable process for me. Seeing the matted and framed final product is gratifying. I once sold some photos to a local business that needed some wall decor. It was nice. Contact came from a friend who worked there. I made a few bucks and that was it. I have not thought about it until now. I have never stopped thinking about making photos.

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