Why I am a Photographer
Photography is a most varied pursuit, with a wide diversity of underlying motivations, so any attempt to generalize is doomed to failure. However, I want to answer the question as to why I, personally, take photographs.
Like most people, I have a desire to create things, and preferably things that are useful. I have created poems and books and a few paintings, but photographs have come to the fore as the things that I most enjoy creating. The challenge lies in making them useful. I am in process of creating an audience and a market for my photos.
I also have the somewhat annoying collectors’ drive. I have collected various things in my life, with books and recorded music being the dominant categories. Collections, one eventually realizes, are largely pointless indulgences. Photography has the ability to satisfy my collector’s craving, but in a relatively benign way. A digital file on my computer is a less wasteful commodity than a book or CD sitting idly on a shelf.
However, there is one type of collection which does have unquestionable value, and that is a collection of memories. Memories are a big part of who we are as individual personalities. Memories give flavour and meaning to our lives. For me, a key benefit of photography is that it strengthens memory. (I happen to have a very poor memory which needs all the help it can get.) Whether they be family snaps or pictures of places I have visited, photographs bring back into focus people, places and experiences that would otherwise be vague or completely lost.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, photography deepens my experience of things. Not only is my visual sense heightened when I am taking photographs, but in processing the photographs later, I get to see and experience things all over again, and appreciate them afresh. Sometimes I even find that I have photographed things that I was not aware of at the time. I recently took a pic of a locust (below) and later found that there was also a small lizard in the photo that I did not see at the time. (With age, my eyesight has also become rather poor.)
So there is my rationale for my photography: creativity, collection, memory and experience. Now if I could just add income to the list…