Photography is heavily involved in our lives today and we might not even realize it. With applications like Snapchat and Instagram, everyone is a photographer. It doesn't matter if you are taking a photo from your cell phone all the way to taking photos using a full fledged interchangeable lens camera system, you are still committing in the act of photography. A moment is still being captured through whatever device you are using.
Because of this, I've been thinking recently about why some of us take photos. For some, it is for pure entertainment. Some use it to send pictures of their filtered faces that are now shaped like a strawberry or send 20+ photos of their dog and/or cat to their Snapchat story. While others just like to document everyday life and important moments in our lives. Some use photography as a means of expression and to create art.
I recently went through somewhat of an existential crisis when it came to my photography. I've been taking photos as an amateur photographer close to 3 years now. I really enjoy taking photos but I tend to lean towards landscapes. The mental crisis I went through is this:
As a landscape photographer, I take photos of heavily trafficked areas since these areas are popular for their beauty in the first place. In my recent travels to Iceland, I had a huge google drive folder dedicated to locations our group would find in Iceland. As we kept driving to new locations I began to feel a bit of inadequacy when it came to my photos. Why am I taking a photo of a waterfall that has been photographed so many times before and most likely better? It was some pretty depressing stuff. To think all of your work means nothing because its been done before and done better?
When I first began taking photos, I didn't care if my photos were great. I just did it because I enjoyed the process. From the research and planning all the way to the editing. I also loved the fact that I could capture a scene and it would never be captured the same way again. The photos I took were my images.
The light will never hit a landscape the same way as it does when I photographed it.
Or a river may never run the same course it did as it's done in my exposure.
Because of this, I almost feel like I have an important role in taking these photos that are only caught through my camera. As cliche as it is to bring up Ansel Adams in a landscape related post, he was the one that said:
"You don't make a photograph just with the camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read,the music you have heard, the people you have loved."
The experience I get from taking photographs, the whole process, is what I use to love about photography in the first place. Each photograph we take has our past, our emotions, our style and has us encapsulated in them. That alone should justify why I make photos but at the very core of it, the act of taking photos just makes me happy.
So why do you make photographs?