Why take photos?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by steven_connor, Apr 15, 2004.

  1. Hello all,

    I am working on a consumer research project for a marketing class at
    my university. I am interested in hearing from photographers and
    photo-viewers about why photography resonates with them. Stories
    about first experiences, memorable photos, etc. would be
    appreciated. Thanks for your help. - Steve
  2. "Stare.It is the way to educate your eye,and more. Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long."
    Walker Evans

    That's a good enough reason for me to be involved in photography, to use it as a vehicle for staring into the world and knowing. The photography in itself is not that important, it's just another tool for achieving that understanding.
  3. I love beauty, and have a bit of a artistic/creative desire, but have to label my stick figures so people can recognize them. A photograph looks pretty much like the subject being shot. It is more a matter of seeing something already evocative, then capturing that. I also like capturing something I'm seeing to share with others.

    And it's fun!
  4. For me, photography is partly a means of expressing ideas and emotions that go beyond words, partly a search for beauty and a way of looking beneath the surface of that beauty, and partly simple creativity (my stick figures also need great leaps of faith on the part of the viewer to suspend disbelief and actually recognize them as stick figures).

    Your post interested me because I woke up this morning wondering what on earth drives me (personally) to do things like music and photography.

    By the way, my answer will probably change somewhat within an hour and be completely different by next week :).

    Of all the photos I've seen recently (I spend an awful lot of time looking at other people's work)this one resonates most: http://www.photo.net/photo/2274239 . The reasons are very personal, but this photograph captures something of the feeling of creating music, which is a much more immediate and intense process than photography for me.

    Of my own work, this is the one I am currently most fond of: http://www.photo.net/photo/2280327 .
  5. “What’s the most difficult thing? The one that seems to be the most simple: to look with one’s eyes what’s right in front of them.” – Goethe

    Photography helps do this.
  6. I'm far from being pro. My girlfriend decided to sell stuff on e-Bay, my boss is involved in similar stuff. - I do the pictures.
    An other point is, my life is far from everyday-beauty. I don't like washing my motorbike, or tidying up, I don't see my friends or relatives very often. Great impressions of nature are rare so ilike to catch my conserve of them. pictures are also a very nice handcrafted give-away. by the way photographing during boring family-events is more polite than reading books or unwrapping a gameboy...
    photography is a very nice hunting-substitute; I like the thrill.
  7. jbs


    "...why photography resonates with them." Because I'm a Visual person...Because I can re-live the past....because last Febuary, it snowed in Texas......;)...J
  8. jbs


    Because Febuary was worth remembering.....;)...J
  9. The day was hot, too hot. The korean family had sat across the fountain from me and soon the boys took turns splashing about the pouring cool water. The second hand yashica twin lens was between my knees as I looked down into it to compose a simple snapshot. Then out of my right ear I heard skate wheels on bricks and I saw it coming like a constellation coming into alignment. I lowered my view and panned left, waited for the skater to pass and snapped the shutter.
    There it is-what to me comprises the perfect kind of photographic event.

    Why do we make photographs?
    As Rutger Hauer's charecter of Roy Batty in Blade Runner says before he dies: "All these moments will be lost, in time. Like tears in rain..."

    We don't want to lose them. That's why.
  10. To see what things look like photographed
  11. My first photographs were of the ripping up of the railway sidings near our house and which had been a feature of my childhood. I had spent many hours watching coal trains being shunted, and occasionally got hauled up into the cab of the locomotive and riding in it while it rattled up and down the sidings. So, much of my photography is a pictorial diary. I now have some of my photographs in the town's small musuem.

    Otherwise I photograph people on the streets, being fascinated by consumer culture, modes of dress and behaviour.

    I work almost exclusively in black-and-white, this perhaps being due to my slight red-green colour vison deficiency, but also because of the added degree of abstraction. Monochrome photography is to colour photography as poetry is to prose. I see primarily shape, form and movement. I am also intrigued by the 'strangeness' of the ordinary - for examples of which see the work of William Eggleston.
  12. "Consumer research" what are you actually looking for...since most of us here have an interest in photography outside of the norm...we might actually be the very group that would be excluded from "consumer research" since we would skew the results.....
  13. We don't know why we do things and we don't know why we like to do things. We are shaped by social influences of which we are mainly unaware. Different societies attach different weights to the various senses, and America is a very visual society.
    Not all human societies are, though. Take the former Soviet Union. Some of us are old enough to remember the U-2 spyplane trouble in the 1960s, when Gary Powers was shot down and imprisoned. The Soviets were outraged that someone should be watching them, though they happily bugged the hotel rooms of visiting diplomats and businessmen with microphones. Listening is ok, watching is not.
    Imagine the reaction in the USA if you went around with a directional microphone and tape recorder, trying to record the conversations of people in the street. Would people call it art?
    Have fun with your project.
  14. I suppose that photography resonates with me because most photos are so life-like. Just watch at some of the best photos made by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert and Cornell Capa, "Chim", Werner Bischof etc. You may feel as if you would yourself have been right there!
    Some ten years ago I had an opportunity to roam along with an old man on the hills of Bihar (in Romania). The nature there is astonishingly beautiful. After a full days stroll we were coming downhill very fast. I ran ahead and made several photos of the dear old man, with the sun shining nearly towards the camera's lens. And what kind of photos did I get! I can still sense the strength and vitality of the eighty-year old Hungarian as he hurries downhill...
  15. Steve, I never gave it a thought before. I think this has much to do with it though. I went to grade school in the 50's at Cunningham elementary near Alexandria, Indiana. We had superb teachers there, they all seemed to cause the students to want to be interested in what they were teaching,and the world around us. I got so interested in learning about the several things that I was interested in, that I've spent the last 35 years experimenting and teaching myself all I can about the kind of photography that means something to me.

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