Why do you like taking pictures? Why do you like making a photograph?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by macgregor_anderson, Apr 19, 2005.

  1. I'm just curious.
  2. Mimesis :)
  3. 'cause i want to see what it looks like when... you know the rest.
  4. Keith Laban Photography
    You seem to be assuming that we all like taking pictures and making photographs.
    Personally speaking I find image making a constant struggle and the source of much heartache. I'm not sure I make images because I like to make them; it's more of an obsession or compulsion.
  5. Simply put: to create, to seek out my ideas and explore visually with the intention to record what I find or compose within the space around me.
    I now photograph for me. It gives me great pleasure to see others understand my compositions when I exhibit my prints.
  6. MacGregor, Our moments in the world are very complex, yet very fleeting. The exquisite experience of the moment, sensory as well as emotional, can never be appreciated adequately by merely living in each moment - it's the existential dilemma, how to live more abundantly. Instant by instant, our presents transform into immediate pasts, gone forever save for what remains in that most fallible of human attributes, the memory. Photographs give us a chance to remember a few of the moments of the life lived, and use them to build constructs comprising emotions and memory fragments, which are attached to the photo like metaphysical metadata. So the first reason is documentary.

    The challenge of developing and producing your photographic vision in expressive, techically sound compositions is unrelenting but very rewarding. Getting your best from the equipment is fundamental. So my second reason is self expression and my third is related to technique.

    Producing images is very involving; it may work best when the photographer is in a very focused but hyper aware state; time passes quickly, inconveniences are overlooked. I enjoy being in this state of mind - my fourth reason.

    Finally, I am most interested, having said the above, in the emotional response images we like create in us. In spite of the debates about postmodern photography and pretty pictures, without that emotional response, a photo will not work. So, it is all about the power of photography to produce beauty in diverse works for diverse tastes. Susan Sontag makes excellent sense of this matter: 'But notwithstanding the declared aims of indiscreet, unposed, often harsh photography to reveal truth, not beauty, photography still beautifies. Indeed, the most enduring triumph of photography has been its aptitude for discovering beauty in the humble, the inane, the decrepit.' - On Photography, 1973. The emotion of photography is my fifth reason. opinions only, as always.
  7. vdp


    1) Being creative sure beats being distructive.

    2) It has become my religion

    3) I can't help it, I've fallen in love with photography.

    4) Before I die I would like to create a work of art.

    5) Taking photographs has me appreciate the rest of the world more.
  8. Art is a kind of masturbation of the senses. I like looking at it. I like it best when it is relevant to me. Hence I also want to create it.
  9. Like Keith, I'm not sure I 'like' taking photographs, in that it is not, as it is for many people, a relaxation. It's a kind of obsessive-compulsive disorder. I have to photograph, I have to document. Every photograph is the result of a chance meeting of photographer and subject - 'le miracles des rencontres' as the French say, 'the miracle of meetings'. In a world where we are expected simply to buy everything, where people try to define their identity by what they buy, I feel it is a radical, almost subversive act to define oneself through action. I try to avoid thinking too much about why I do it for fear of destroying the magic. "Writers write", to quote Hemingway(?). And photographers photograph.
  10. Evidence.
  11. "I'm just curious."

    It's sort of like breathing air, it's a survival sort of thing.

    Why do I like making (not taking) images (not pictures)? Cause I don't like fishing.

    Why do I like making a photograph? Cause I can't handle hangovers.

    Anybody who claims it's more than entertainment (profession aside), is zooming themselves.

    MacGregor, turn the question around and let's see your answer to the question cause I'm just curious.
  12. Great way to meet men/women??
  13. I really enjoy the activity itself. I prefer nature and landscape photography, and I love the entire process of searching out new areas, finding grand views and also spotting interesting subjects on a smaller scale. Some days I'll drive the forest service roads in the mountains in my truck, not knowing if I'm going to find a break in the trees with a view of the mountains I haven't seen before, or if I'm going to come across a small stream and carefully explore a small section of it looking for smaller subjects that stand out to me. Usually those spots get filed in the back of my head (I'm not great at note taking) and I wait for a time with better light or weather conditions, often returning dozens of times, and much of the time never getting a negative I even want to use.

    After just two years of this I've come to know the wild areas around my house very well. Was the photography just an excuse for this? Is it just a side benefit? Not sure.

    I also enjoy the process of making the photograph, from first exposure to final print. But perhaps a bit less so, and some days, it's more of an obsession than a fun pastime. I went months building a collection of negatives without putting much effort into my printing. One day a few months ago I got the urge to improve my printing skills, and while much of the process was frustrating, the results were very satisfying.

    But I'd say I enjoy the exploration and especially the the concentration that comes with looking around for things to take pictures of. I don't think I'd look so closely if I were just out on a hike or a drive. That's the fun part. The often satisfying, but not always fun part is the technical process.

    I'd say if I never printed a negative I'd still enjoy the looking.

    As an aside, I also fly fish quite a bit. And sometimes I think it's just because I enjoy standing in the middle of a river. I like figuring out the hatch, catching wild trout on flies I tied myself, improving my casting and mending skills. But it's really about exploring and paying attention. And standing in the middle of a rushing river.

    Thanks for the responses.

  14. Usually it's because I want to keep the moment. When taking a photo it's mostly a one shot deal. You don't get another chance. Taking a photo allows me to keep that moment for ever.
  15. Hello there,

    I am a beginner, and as such I can have fun in learning without the least worry of ever turning 'pro'. Ellis et al would doubtless agree.

    I think that learning is something that adults do slowly, perhaps
    I miss being a kid, although my Fuji g690bl is so large it makes me look like a kid anyhow.

    I enjoy making a moment last a lifetime, the proccess of photography is a medium for achieving that, I have other interests which also achieve that goal, thakfully.

    I believe that if Oscar Peterson the legendary Jazz pianist can find pleasure in photography, then I too will give it a shot, even if his hands are a tad larger than mine.

    I enjoy using cameras and being in the picture too, I find the whole thing liberating and an expression of mind which otherwise could be lost in that moment.

    I hope to make photos that will make me smile, cry, and remember life for many years to come.

    I have lost friends and loved ones, I had no camera then, now I do.

  16. "Usually those spots get filed in the back of my head (I'm not great at note taking) and I wait for a time with better light or weather conditions,..."

    As a suggestion, carry a little spiral bound notebook with pen in the truck's jockey box. Make a quick note of where you were, what the subject was that grabbed your attention and the time of day/date.

    Then as you're tooling through life, with free time, pull the notebook out and see what peaks your attention. Think about the current light and the location in question and time being there a half-hour or so before the light's just right.

    Sounds like you're in it cause it's fun. To me, that's the best reason to make images.

    Thanks for your answer.
  17. Your question is sujestive of its answer; it assumes as a priori that I do like taking/making pictures and only seeks the "why" of it.

    By focusing on "why", you assume that my act of taking/making pictures is intensional.

    You suggest that I choose to take pictures, and that's because I like it.

    That, knowing the answer, you are asking a question, is questionable.
  18. Almost everything I do or say is questionable. Just ask my girlfriend.

  19. I'm fascinated by the abilitiy of a photograph to keep a moment alive forever. The subject of every picture will someday be gone. But its photographic image can live forever.
  20. Hi, I assume we are and always were beings of intentionality.

    From the simple Amoeba to the Arctic circle it lives in.

    Everything which lives is intentional, and exhibits intentionality.

    Therefore the question Mac asks is valid and excellent in its simplicity.

  21. It helps keep the voices at bay.
  22. Right on, Walt.

    My father told me, as a kid, never throw away a negative. Now when I don't have anything interesting to print, I take the old and poorly exposed/processed/composed negatives to the basement. 30 years can do strange things to bad negatives.

    The negatives are the same, but the world around them has changed so much, now they are interesting (to me, at least).

    When I take pictures, I have this in mind.

    Thanks, Mac, for asking.
  23. Keith Laban: You seem to be assuming that we all like taking pictures and making photographs.

    Personally speaking I find image making a constant struggle and the source of much heartache. I'm not sure I make images because I like to make them; it's more of an obsession or compulsion.

    Wow. And Keith's work is stellar. But I agree. If I couldn't take a photograph, life would be unbearable.
  24. Because painting is too slow.
  25. I think, Korda (the guy who took the famous head shot of Che) said: 'cause I like to be around beautiful women.
  26. I'm a voyeur.
  27. ha, love the name hertz van rental....budget or avis isn't as classy sounding
  28. With a name like that you should be a voyager.
  29. hey, Hertz, how much is it to rent a van at Hertz right now?
  30. I don't really know. I don't think I have the same drive that many people have mentioned here. I do have a desire to both document life around me (because my memory is so poor) and to show others something I found interesting. I also have a strong desire to learn, and photography seemed like an excellent topic to explore. I've been heavily involved since Jan of 2002 and photography has indeed provided me with a huge range of topics to study :)

    And yes, part of me loves the gear-side of photography. Bells, whistles and the machine that goes "Bing!" all fascinate me.
  31. I'm trying to diversify - car rental was getting a little stale
  32. Think for a moment, what is your strongest memory? Probably something visual. Humans have enormous visual capacity.

    It goes without saying that people try to create memories by visualizing and using cameras etc. to help achieve that.

    The idea that some people actually have a somewhat photographic memory really amazes me totally. Perhaps those people have fixed focal lengths? I find that I can Zoom about in my minds eye, just thinking of London now, and the many muses I once knew there.

  33. To document my life. I don't keep a written journal/diary.
  34. to fight the boredom of the voyeur
  35. Because it is fun, because it allows me to use technical skills and knowledge in the pursuit of art, because photographs are fascinating, because I can't draw, because it teaches me to see the world in a different way, because it pushes me to go out and look, because it keeps me busy, because I can always learn more and get better, ...
  36. The shutter makes a pretty noise. I've always liked that.

    Otherwise, the overlap of structure (consistency, cleanness, care in composition and exposure) with creativity is neat too. Paint and pencils don't really have the same combination.

  37. It creates a nice feeling for me when I hear the shutter.

    One of the greatest things for me is to have a visual representation of what life is.

    To create and show a feeling with a simple and static image. I like images that you only look for 3 seconds and already feel what the picture commands you to feel.
  38. It's a compulsion. It's something I do even when I don't have a camera in hand--always framing, always evaluating light. The satisfaction of the shutter click, the exhilaration of stopping time and creating emotion in 2-D. I don't even get that much satisfaction from someone saying "Hey, that's a great photo." I just have to do it...
  39. to explore the other side of the world,the reality,something we have lost,the memory. twiart.blogspot.com

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