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female traveler photographing temples at Bagan Myanmar Asia at s

Why do YOU take pictures? How you approach this question is almost as important as the answer and will, most definitely, impact how you answer the question.

I mentioned, in an earlier blog post, that I started creating images because I’ve always found it to be an effective way of keeping me present. Photography is my meditation and my spiritual practice.

At certain times in my life, I’ve created images to pay my rent. I’ve certainly created images to impress my friends, family, clients, and colleagues. (In fact, this reason is omnipresent with my work.) Photography is my creative outlet, my self-expression and my unique voice. I take pictures to comment on, be in dialogue with and acknowledge the world around me and the beauty within it.

My reasons for taking pictures are certainly multi-dimensional and shift from day to day. Admittedly, I am more motivated on some days over others and, yes, I sometimes don’t want to be anywhere near my camera. If you can believe this, I rarely take pictures while I’m on vacation or, if I do, I rarely take images that people expect me to take. I am turned off by the thought that any picture I’m creating has been created many times before. I want to feel like my perspective is unique though I know, realistically, that it rarely is.

Why do you take pictures? What drives you to pick up the camera and look through the viewfinder? What goes through your mind in those few moments before you press the shutter button? If the answer to this is not immediately clear to you, you might find the answer in the images that inspire you. For me, I look to the photography of André Kertész. There’s a particular image of his that I always think of that illustrates the pure wonder of light creating an indelible impression on the image viewer. The image consists, simply, of a fork and a plate.

To me, the picture is elegantly and gracefully beautiful. It testifies that life is in the details and that visual inspiration can truly be found anywhere, even in the most mundane household items. How can this image, which contains no literal display of emotion, move someone, like myself, to be inspired? The answer lies in nature and, in the same way a flower, in all its various forms, can radiate beauty and splendor, so too can light and how that light falls on the objects around us.

800px-Photographers_Robert_Doisneau_(left)_and_André_Kertész_in_1975_bAndré Kertész, Right: By Wolfgang H. Wögerer, Wien (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0]

That this is one of my favorite images says something about what attracts me to photography. I do not consider myself a studio photographer. Studio photographers are the fiction writers of the photography industry. Why make up stories when fact is always stranger than fiction? Why manufacture photographic scenes when life offers a visual cornucopia? Certainly, a studio photographer will argue that there is much to be discovered in the studio and I would have to concede the point. I prefer to make my own exploration one that is in the streets, among the people and in the action.

Ultimately my answer to the question, why do you take pictures? To celebrate life. What’s your answer to the same question?

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