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Thread: Why Do We Photograph?

  1. #61
    Indiana, USA chassis's Avatar
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    Re: Why Do We Photograph?

    Thanks Will. Good video. I like Mr. Forbes' comments which encompass all art forms across all times in history. One message I get from the video is: do what you like, do it well, and try to make it matter.
    Last edited by chassis; 18-Nov-2017 at 11:29.

  2. #62

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    Re: Why Do We Photograph?

    I found the video posted by Will very interesting, but in a way it reinforced my concerns posted previously. How much can another LF image of slot canyons, aspen trees, rusting cars, or waterfalls matter, no matter (no pun intended, just my limited vocabulary) how much effort we put into them. I firmly believe that the vast majority of what we do photographically matters to us as individuals, because we value the process of creating the images, but little to anyone else. That is not to say the work may not be decorative, and sell, but if the same image has been made by countless others, to me our individual efforts can't "matter." Similarly, we are enjoined to not take the "easy"image, but I for one do that all too often: I am out with my 4x5, looking for images to make, and along comes a white clapboard church, or a picturesque ruin (architecture or car), and bingo, I have an image I can work on. The solution to that dilemma, I believe, is time, because once the easy shot is out of the way, if we have time, we can try to use the same subject in a more personal way. When I raised this concern at a group critique, I received a good answer, albeit easier with digital cameras: when I find a subject that speaks to me, once I have the easy shot out of the way, take 50 more photographs (another version of the old "image per day" exercise). I will be trying this, adjusted for the fact that I normally carry 6 film holders, and of course each image takes a lot longer to set up than its digital counterpart.

  3. #63
    John Olsen
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    Re: Why Do We Photograph?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Lewin View Post
    I firmly believe that the vast majority of what we do photographically matters to us as individuals, because we value the process of creating the images, but little to anyone else. That is not to say the work may not be decorative, and sell, but if the same image has been made by countless others, to me our individual efforts can't "matter."
    If the image matters to you, that's enough. You're recording your experience in life and that's valuable, if you think your life is valuable. Maybe it looks a little like something that's been done before, but all of life is repetitive at the biologic level. You can still hold out for the genius-breakthrough image that will bring peace to the Mideast and solve the climate change problem, but in the meantime interact with the world around you without apologies about "mattering." Now go out and buy more film holders, six is not enough unless you are already a genius.

  4. #64
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    Re: Why Do We Photograph?

    Worth reading twice or as many times needed until we understand.

    Thank you


    Quote Originally Posted by John Olsen View Post
    If the image matters to you, that's enough. You're recording your experience in life and that's valuable, if you think your life is valuable. Maybe it looks a little like something that's been done before, but all of life is repetitive at the biologic level. You can still hold out for the genius-breakthrough image that will bring peace to the Mideast and solve the climate change problem, but in the meantime interact with the world around you without apologies about "mattering." Now go out and buy more film holders, six is not enough unless you are already a genius.

  5. #65
    indecent exposure cosmicexplosion's Avatar
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    Re: Why Do We Photograph?

    photographers are usually neat and clean, and tend towards the technical, astrologically they would be Virgo's, so as a self expression, and a way of externalising said organisation, its suits, as a certain 'type', painters on the other hand, are completely messy, usually, and thrive in chaos. generally speaking. IMO. being both.
    however to answer your question, one must look at ones motives, some like to look at girls through the lens. others its just a job, some people just love the image, of black and white, and the process. so do what you love is the first order.
    through a glass darkly...

  6. #66
    ryanchapman's Avatar
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    Re: Why Do We Photograph?

    Photography is a part of the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the globe. The widespread availability and ease of owning a camera is a product of the digital age Ė and arenít we all so fortunate for it. Whether you have a simple point and shoot to capture family moments and day to day ramblings or a multi-thousand dollar medium format with a digital back for large production advertising, photography touches all of us. It begs the question, why do we photograph?

    For some itís as necessary as breathing. Itís as much a part of who we are as the clothes we wear, the music we listen to, the friends we associate with and the values we hold dear. Itís who we are. To others itís an enjoyable hobby or past-time Ė a great way to spend some free time or a way to capture little family moments. Whatever your personal level of involvement in photography is, taking photos is something we all love to do.

    Perhaps there is a deeper psychological explanation. Our time on this earth only lasts for so long, and a camera allows us to preserve memories far past when they might have slipped our mind. It helps us pass those memories into the hands of future generations. Our photos are little legacies of the life we have led Ė our travels, experiences, food, family, friends, work relationships and more. Each photo is a window into a moment, and the collections of images we take over the years are a window into who we were and what we valued. Ultimately it comes down to a simple truth Ė seeing that moment captured makes us genuinely happy.

    Photography should make you happy. Never let someone impede on your personal happiness. You love HDRs and someone else doesnít Ė who cares? You are enamored with landscapes but your friends think theyíre droll Ė donít let it bother you. Youíre a fashion nut but no one gets your style Ė just keep being you. Enjoy your photography for what it is Ė your own. Know that not everyone will appreciate it, but if it personally fulfills you, thatís all that truly matters. Be true to yourself and youíll never regret a day of your life.

  7. #67

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    Re: Why Do We Photograph?

    I was very lucky at my first (and only) gallery display, I was approached by the gallery director, the intent was to show old cameras in the gallery. As an afterthought I went around the area taking a few shots, purely to reflect what great images could be made with a prehistoric camera. The pictures took over the exhibition, this was very unexpected, if I had tried to produce great photo's for others I think they would have flopped. I dont think I could do it again.

  8. #68
    Serious Amateur Photographer pepeguitarra's Avatar
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    Re: Why Do We Photograph?

    Not everybody gets into photography for the same reason. I remember my uncle in a small town about 50 years ago saying: I carry this camera because everyone likes to have his/her photo taken. So, the took pictures and used this action to break the ice and contact potential buyers of what he sold: electrodomestics (stove, dishwashers, etc.). I started at age 12 taking and developing photographies because a friend from school's mom had a studio where people went to have their photo taken for passports, document, etc. I thought it was magic to put some paper under the light and later get an image in a dark room. I never tried to do ART from my photographic hobby. I have done photo to documents events from life, and to have idea of departed ones in a future. Through the years, I have explored the film, digital, videocamera, etc. However, after almos 50+ years, I have decided to take it seriously as an art. Like Van Gogh, maybe not to sell a photo, but to enjoy it myself.
    I did have the experience you mentioned while exhibiting paintings, yes Watercolor and Oil paintings I made. My first show cost me a lot of money in framing and glass, etc., plus my actual painting work. I sold nothing, but I had to pay the bills. I keep doing this for several years, supporting my art with my real work. One day, I sold one painting for less than what I spent putting it together. Next day, I quit my "professional" career as painter. I do paint still, but for my own enjoyment. Same as I do now with my 4x5 and 8x10. To amuse myself.
    "I have never in my life made music for money or fame. God walks out of the room when you are thinking about money." -- Quincy Jones

  9. #69
    おせわに なります! Andrew O'Neill's Avatar
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    Re: Why Do We Photograph?

    For its ability to capture extreme detail that I cannot with a pencil.

  10. #70

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    Re: Why Do We Photograph?

    We photograph because we're fish out of water. We never tire of looking at our surroundings. They are a source of continual amazement. So we stop little pieces of time and place. The animals around us have no sense of time and place and/or their position in it. God did that.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

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