Why do you take pictures?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by steven_clark, Feb 20, 2004.

  1. I think I've seen a thread like this at least once before, but it's
    always interesting to get new views on an open topic like this.

    My question for everyone is simple: Why do you take pictures? What
    is your 'photographic goal' as some would call it? What makes you
    tolerate this expensive hobby? Are there statements you'd like to
    make, stories you'd like to tell, or maybe just representations of
    beauty? Why do you click the shutter?

    For me my reasons for doing photography are twofold: First, I want
    to make prints for myself and have control over the images used to
    make the prints. Second, I use it as an artistic outlet, and as a
    challenge to enrich myself. Photography gives me a motivation to
    exit my shell and try new things, if only for the challenge of taking
    types of pictures I don't normally take.
  2. I can't draw, paint, sing or play music... wait... I can't take a decent picture either. OK, let's change the line of thinking just a bit...

    Once upon a time, in a life so very long ago, I was a homemaker who enjoyed spending a few hours each week being a "Jill of all crafts." I dabbled in sewing, quilting and rubber stamping. I wasn't good at any of them, but they provided me with the creative outlet I so desperately needed--and still need today. I also played with a little fiction writing.

    Life's journey took me down a different path. Writing non-fiction is now my career. When writing became "work" it ceased being a hobby. When I get home from the office, the idea of starting a long-term craft project is no longer appealing. Photography, however, is something I can do in small snipets of time or can make an all-day or all-weekend project if I want.

    Mostly, I take photos because I want to capture the feeling I get when I see, smell or touch something. I've not learned the "trick" to doing this. Nor have I learned how to make art with my camera. But maybe one day I'll surprise myself and be able to take more than snapshots. And if not, at least I had fun trying.

    I can't wait to read the responses to this question, Steven. I bet you get a lot of different answers from PN posters.
  3. As a returnee (today!)to slr photography, I haven't stopped to think why. But without considering the matter, I always knew I would return. I could have accomplished something with my voice (singing), my pen and I once did a credible half marathon, but photography hit the spot.

    I used to be most active (photographically) when travelling (landscapes), and particularly in political campaigning (mis-spent youth), - sort of junior league photojournalism.

    I remember the adreneline rush from snatching or 'capturing' those unique moments that exited crowds and oratory can produce. I guess it was an outlet for my supressed 'hunting' instincts. Like bidding on eBay for the camera in the first place!
  4. My goal is to capture the light in a pleasing and creative way, thereby displaying natural or man-made beauty to maximum advantage (I shoot primarily landscapes and architecture). I enjoy the challenge, the ability to experiment, and the deliberateness of thought imposed in the execution (primarily LF and MF shooting). I find the results (which I mostly keep to myself and a few close friends) rewarding and reinforcing. And, of course, it is lots of fun as well.
  5. I take pictures because its my passion in life. As for a specific reason, I have no clue, I just do it because I am compelled to.

  6. My ideal is to capture, create, and share something of lasting beauty. I think this is a worthy endeavor in a world consumed with deadlines and bottom lines.
  7. Sean, You said it much more succinctly (and accurately!) than I did in my original post ... it is my passion as well. So be it!
  8. Because I have a camera ;-)
  9. Steven wrote
    Why do you click the shutter?
    I could try to give an elequent reason such as others have but the truth of the matter, I don't know why? It's something that's been in my life since I discovered it when about nine or ten years of age, back about 1961 or 62 and I've been doing it ever since.
  10. jbs


    Steven, Nice of you to join us....
    Lets see if I can come close to an answere...for you see; (as you probably already know) being in the 'Philosophy Forum',
    questions are rarely 'simple' and often contentious. Hmm...looking at your questions (not question) (7) I notice you only
    answere two of the questions yourself; "Why do you take pictures?" & "Why do you click the shutter?". So, I will
    try to address those two first. Ok, the first question seems to have changed. Is the question, "Why do you take pictures?"
    or, as in your answere (?), "Why do You do photography?" You can now see why questions can sometimes be contentions.
    I can see now that I'm bordering on the verbose so I'll cut the crap for a second and overlook your rambling questions
    and sophomoric answeres.
    No, I tell ya what... I'll answere like you asked and you tell me if the answere helps you. okey-doke? :)

    1."Why do you take pictures?" I don't.
    2."What is your 'photographic goal' as some would call it?" As with all things in my life; to be the best I can be.
    3."What makes you tolerate this expensive hobby?" (assumption) It was only a hobby when I was 7 and shot my poloroid.
    4."Are there statements you'd like to make," Yes, but then I would sound even more pompous than I do already.
    5."stories you'd like to tell?," There is a word limit here I think.
    6."or maybe just representations of beauty?" Unclear what this question means.
    7."Why do you click the shutter?" It's enjoyable.

    I'm sorry to sound so jaded Steven, I'm sure that your questions are well intentioned. But to be plain; it takes effort
    to answere (what you would call) a simple question honestly. I would be happy to answere a question thoughtfully, if,
    you would put just a little more thought into your question.

    God Bless....;)...J
  11. I didn't mean it as a quiz, there were only multiple questions for the sake of rhetoric. They are all different views of the same question (hopefully to narrow and further define its meaning a bit) and they are left intentionally open to interpetation. I'm trying to get people to talk, not profile them. Succinct responses are good, and rambling lengthily is encouraged. I meant to ramble myself but it kinda got shorter as I wrote it.
  12. jbs


    Well, I guess my answers were apropos. I Didn't realize it was the rambling forum...;)...J
  13. The closest answer for me would be, i think, for the same reasons that provoked the question.
  14. I do it for a wide range of reasons that include both the grand and the petty. My explanations are sometimes irrational and even self-contradictory. I am also motivated by sources that seem to defy explanation or elude clear discovery. These qualities seem common to most creative endeavors.
  15. I love photography.
    Available light portraits are an excellent medium for recording events and feelings of life.
    Travel photography is a way of making me to look at where I am and what there is, and see the beauty of it.
    Nature landscape and close-up photography ... I do it because it motivates me to spend time in the outdoors, and forget about work.
    Viewing my best photographs brings back memories of things I have done and places I've been to.
  16. Photography makes me look at and notice things more than I normally would. It gets me out of the house. It gives me an appreciation of the qualities and subtleties of light. It allows me an excuse to fiddle with precision equipment. It gives me something to do when I'm at a boring family event. It connects me, in my own minor way, to a long photographic tradition and history. It allows me, once in awhile, to capture something on film or sensor that is pleasing to me and my family. It makes me aware, over and over, that everything is a tradeoff -- that there are no absolute answers. I can think of very few activities that offer this much.
  17. I click the shutter so that I will have something to post here :p
    Actually, it's lots of fun doing it...and waiting for the results coming from the lab...lately, being free, it's even more fun:).
    Since I got more serious in photography (about a year and a half ago), or at least, that's what i think i did, I started to see the world differently. I observe and enjoy looking at more things. So i won something already, even if I'll never manage to improve my photography.
  18. My late father used to write a diary. We still have several crates of his diaries. I don't write a diary, I take photographs instead.
  19. the world is built on moments. a photograph capture a moment, a moment you never will see again. thats the reason. to colect moments.
  20. Because life is grand.

    Friends call me the human happy pill and I don't really get it, but I understand enough to realise not everyone sees just how incredibly amazing life is. I want to share this deep lake of well being that I have in my life. Because I am a visual person photography is a natural medium.

    This is not some happy clappy, go grab your banjo, bible bashing mission I am on. I am far too shy and serene to impose it on others, but it would be grand if through this medium I can show a sliver of life's beauty to others. To give others that fingers space of... hope maybe?... to grab on to and peel back their own perception of the world.

    Maybe it is like my humble offering to the world, in appreciation of what it has given me?

    And to be perfectly honest and less high and mighty; I like the gadgets, gizmos, excuses to travel, the process, the frustration, the joy, the anticipation (oh digital don't ruin that please!), the anger and finally the passion, passion, passion and passion.
  21. I am not a great writer. Have tried journals, and got bored. Have no real talent with pen, pencil, chalk, or brush. I work much better with "hard" images.

    I love capturing life as I come across it. In my job I produce ads for my company. I can't draw a lick, so it is using royalty free art to create the ads that I produce. Sort of like my photography. I try to take what I see and make something of it.

    More to the reason that I take pictures is there is a peace that my hobby/passion brings me. For my life photography gives me something that is missing from my day to day life. The ability to appreciate the world around me.

    I take pictures even without a camera. I was taught a few years ago that we need to see photographically. It is seeing the world around us as we pass through. Some would say why not carry the camera all the time and grab the shot. Sometimes there is not the chance. Needing to get to work, and the such. But it does train the eye for when you have the camera.
  22. I don`t take piv+ctures i make them!

    It`s a lot of fun and those who don`t make pictures misses a lot in life. We see differently and we see much more than others. So many times i`ve heard the phrase:"How beautiful, where is that place!"
    or "What a chick, where did You find those beautiful models?" - the firs referring to a place where the amazed viewer lived for 20 years and the secon looking at a photograph of a girl he actually knew! It is sad that most of us don`t realize the beauty around us, must be the pace of modern times i guess.

    Oh i`m becoming romantic, i`ll leave and go MAKE some pictures!
  23. Yes, David, you stop being a romantic with your model chicks. Just the word to romance a woman with. :p
  24. Why do I take photographs?

    I take photographs because I can.

    I am trying to capture a sliver of the human experience visually. To record what it is like to be there in that one tiny moment of existence. To have a record of the sight, sound, smell, feel, and emotional response of that impossibly short, fleeting moment when everything is absolute, time stops and you no longer wonder what the meaning of life is. The photograph is taken to capture that which is inside me during that brief moment and share it with others, or perhaps to keep for myself. It is an attempt at creating a “negative“of the spirit, a picture of that which we cannot understand within ourselves.

    This is a journey of discovery; one which I travel on even though I do not yet know where it will lead. Still, I follow with my camera.

    Gordon J. Millar
  25. Photographs are of course about their makers, and are to be read for what they disclose in that regard no less than for what they reveal of the world as their makers comprehend, invent, and describe it.
    -A. D. Coleman
  26. I have answered this one before somewhere. I first bought a camera because I wanted a record of my daughters growing up and to preserve memories of notable happenings in my life. That got me started and of course the first camera a Retinette soon was not good enough so along came the Exacta system with different lenses, Nikons and Leica rangefinders and so I went through the usual equipment mad phase.
    Then came the camera clubs with their brainwashing " judges " who said you can't do this and can't do that. Now I get a lot of pleasure out of using a 1940's folding camera with a lovely soft lens for portraiture in black and white and am beginning to appreciate the photography of Julia Margaret Cameron and the like. So for me Photography has developed into a quest for more " atmosphere " in photographs rather than just a recording. I won't be pretentious and call this art. That is for others to decide. I am no good at painting,pottery/sculpting, or basket weaving so I guess photography is my outlet for whatever creative juices that I have. Cheers.
  27. Every moment, every place,

    every person, every face,

    has perfect exposure,

    a line to trace.

    My obsession (not for fun!)

    is to capture each and every one!
  28. “Why do you climb the mountains?”. A famous climber answered: “because they are there”. Wonderful statement, full of poethry. But I think that he simply can’t understand why he climbs: too much factors are involved. The same is for photography: really hard to explain why I do what I do ... I guess that I’m looking for THE PERFECT shot: a shot obtained with my photographer skills, that could communicate strong feelings (even only for me, I don’t care); a way to express and store something that is flying in my mind, in that moment. I think that each shot talks about the photographer, but some shots talks ‘louder’: I’m looking for that.

    Alberto Pareto
    (not a native english speaker ... !)
  29. value the moment - honour creation - remember myself
  30. a lot of people take pictures to remember, or preserve. i don't like remembering.

    and unlike someone else said above, i *CAN* draw, and i can paint a little too. i plan on learning both more, as well.

    photography to me is the creation of imagery. i like creating. it just less involved, less emotionally sapping, and more easily reproducable than drawing. and a lot faster. i see photography just like drawing or painting.
  31. As a Children's Profess. Photog.- I shoot because Kids are a challenge. Each child is different. The satisfaction of seeing a child be themselves in front of the camera. I love making history. I love to shoot. I love kids. I am an artist that can relate to kids. No assistant for me. I take photos to make me smile.
    I would love to be Kim Anderson one day! Wish me luck!
    Shari from Minnesota
  32. You cannot take a photograph, they are non-existant objects until you make them.
  33. I appreciate another way of looking at the world. I walk a fair amount, appreciate a fresh breeze, a happy dog, an interesting piece of construction, but now I also look at them to discover if there's some way I could, in the two-dimensional space of a photo, show something of their essence. Some times I see a picture and take it, some days I don't see anything and try to refrain from shooting. Today I was out for an hour, had a nice walk but took no pictures. I ended up taking my camera for a walk, which is still a nice way to spend some time. As someone with an inclination to gadgetitis my photography is about seeing composition and worrying less about the aperture and shutter speed. I'm not trying to change myself, but if there is a little broadening and softening at work then I'm sure I could benefit.
  34. I take pictures because it is the only way I can become Brendan
  35. Why taking pictures? Because I feel the need to express my very own personal view of the world. I see it first, try to absorb it, appreciate it, then recreate it within me in 2D form as camera would see it, only then press the shutter. It's not even that easy, more often I don't even get to pressing the shutter! Other times I don't even need a camera. The camera is in the way, it's just wonderful to be able to see, all you need is an eye and your mind! I still don't know what my subject is... For me photography is very much a process of exclusion where as painting, for instance, would be a process of inclusion (somebody's quote).

    Photographic goal. As I am going through my life I use photography to express my personal experience. It's a form of my spiritual expression. Again, it's not so much about sharing the beauty of the world as much as discovering who I am. The camera is looking two ways - into the subject and into the soul of the photographer. Photographer is always there in the image. I can't remember who said this, Ansel Adams?

    It's a form of my spiritual expression. Just like music. I also play guitar and I can't separate music from photography. Major headache! But at least music is a very cheap form of expression at times when you can't afford photography. :)

    Photography is not that expensive, too! Unless you're constantly thinking that better lens/camera combo will improve your images. I don't want to get into this, it all depends what type of photography one is into. Lets leave it there.

    I better stop here. I just wish I could take at least one photograph in this lifetime that would be above my average "ok" shots...

    My best wishes to all of you!
  36. "I paint my mind just 'cause I'm alive"
    John Frusciante
  37. Why? I don't know. I'm too wrapped up in all the parts of it to be able to say. But I do know it has given me back my soul after it got lost in the day-to-day corporate world.
  38. To satisfy my inner vision. And because i want too. I like to take a slice of life, freeze it, and contemplate it. Not to count the number of hairs on my rear, and impress anyone.
  39. Simply because I can make a photograph that I like a whole lot better and in less time than a painting.
  40. because every moment every sight is a slice of life begging to be captured forever.

    i cant draw or paint either.
  41. My family is, and seems to have always been, very
    optics-oriented. My grandfather (on my mother's side) was a
    troubled veteran, but created amazing black and whites when he
    could not express love for his family. My father was legally blind
    from a young age, but now enjoys such hobbies as photography
    and astronomy. Others in my family were artistic and skilled in
    many forms of visual arts. For me, photography is about seeing
    the story and capturing it. Although I write fairly well, in my
    opinion, the camera can capture so much more.

    It is difficult to describe the look on the face of the player who just
    made the winning shot, or the ominous look in the clouds just
    behind the wildflower. I am a bit of a purist, and am interested in
    capturing what actually happened, and I believe that posing and
    touching-up photos (to change the structure) causes
    photography to cease to be an art form, and sets it up to be a
    matter of image-creation instead of image-capturing.

    But I digress.

  42. Hi to all past and present,

    I want some memories that I choose to keep, I use a camera sometimes. Otherwise I guess I'd prefer to have a photographic memory! Although there I things I would rather not remember, there are also things I would rather not photograph either. If I can find the right moments to remember with a lens I will be very happy.


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