Are photographs the main reason you photograph?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by 2F/2F, Mar 10, 2009.

  1. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Is the creation of photographs the main reason you photograph? Do you even love to look at photographs? Or is it simply the joy of the act of photography? Is it something that it makes you feel, or a way it makes you act? Does it bring you out of your shell? Has it changed you as a person and your philosophies and experiences in life?

    Personally, I am not a huge fan of photographs themselves. I like them, even love some of them, but I am not an aficionado. I don't have lots of photo books. I don't know lots of photographers. I don't go to lots of galleries. I enjoy what photography has done for me as a person, and the way it has changed my personality and my way of looking at the world and dealing with people. I enjoy the mental stimulation and the "creative" outlet. My problem is that the shooting itself largely satisfies me, and I have far too little desire or motivation to actually print and present. It doesn't give me a feeling anywhere near as good as being out shooting, thinking up ideas, or looking at my film on a light box. It does not make me feel incomplete when I don't print something that I like. Is it wrong to do it just for myself? Honestly, some people think that it is. They get VERY upset at my level of interest in photographs or at my slow pace at providing a product for all to see. Do I need to team up with someone who is more into the actual photos?

    What do you like best? What keeps you going? Is it photographs, or is it photography?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 10, 2009
  2. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member
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    I think my thoughts are similar to yours. I spend a lot more time taking pictures, collecting and even making cameras than I do printing. When a printing session goes well I enjoy it. When it is not going well I hate it and wish someone else would do it for me.

    I suppose then that I do like the prints as well but my feelings for the process of making the prints varies. Can't beat being outside on a long walk with a camera though.

    I have had similar thoughts about something else I do. Music. I play guitar semi-professionally. All of my friends in a similar situation have huge record collections whereas mine is pitifully small. I love music (especially live) but don't really seem motivated to go out and buy recorded music.


    Steve.
     
  3. Graham.b

    Graham.b Member

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    Good Morning 2F/2F. I as you do not visit galleries, nor do i have a interest in them. All those people saying what they see when really you can not make head nor tail of it. I do have a couple of books though. 2 by Roger Hicks, and 1 by Barry Thornton, "the edge of darkness" i think it is more of the finish in his prints that grab me, not to mimic or even try but there is that some thing.

    I first started at around 13-14, 1975-76, i was looking at some photo's of Swindon a town that i lived in and still do. There were some picture's going back to the early day's of steam (i do like steam trains, traction engine's and so), which got me thinking of all those prints, a lot of those places do no exist any more, well the area but not the shop, bridge, a road. That lead me to thinking how much more of our history is going and not being remembered.

    your point on printing, this is my biggest kick, what if i did this, or that, i can't count the mount of paper i have gone through but my wife Anne, say's, you are just not happy, satisfied, it has to be better than the last one, she say's the same when we are on a day out, it has to be just right, the light the amount of people in it. In all that i do like to look at others work, but it has to be the look of time in it own time, a past object of history, a photo that looks into a tunnel, where has it came from to where are you going. I suppose that leads i a circle, where has our history gone and where is it going. Or more to the point where are we going.

    Regards Graham
     
  4. kavandje

    kavandje Member

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    I try to keep it simple: I am indeed after the photographs.

    The GAS / "own a zillion cameras" thing is like an 18th century duellist's eternal, fruitless quest for the Perfect Lunge, the Quintessential Unstoppable Attack.
     
  5. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    I think I'm after the photographs but enjoy the journey getting there.

    Like kavandje, I have an animosity with GAS - if I get something new, I have to sell at least one thing. In an ideal world, I'd make great pictures with one camera and lens - maybe I'll get there one day.
     
  6. eddym

    eddym Member

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    I'm in it for the prints.
     
  7. nyoung

    nyoung Member

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    A very good questions indeed.

    For me, its both.

    The photographs are part of all my stories and inseparable from them. I make them because I see something I want to keep.

    They are also my art. Many of my photographs are made with the intention of display, others are made purely as an exercise in craft. Like the duelist, I spend considerable time in practice in a quest for a "perfect" execution of an idea. Just like my afternoon visits to the skeet range in the quest for a perfect round.

    I go to galleries and shows when I'm near them and I have quite a few books. But, I don't collect photography and it has been years - now that I think about it - since I added a book to the shelf.
     
  8. Kevin Caulfield

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    Good question. I do it for every step. Photography satisfies me for the taking and the making and the looking, and luckily for me, I enjoy each part.
     
  9. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member
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    I'm a professional artist. The photographs are the only reason I work. I love going to museums and galleries, collecting books of photos, and reading art history and criticism.
     
  10. Shangheye

    Shangheye Member

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    To each his own meditation...because that is what it is for me. The viewfinder disconnects me from the noise, and I become isolated within my own mind. It is only recently that I have rediscovered that same feeling in the darkroom. I don't think I would do without either right now, each brings its own feelings.

    If taking the pictures is where you find your Zen, then let no one tell you different.

    K
     
  11. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    "Reason" is such a weak human attribute. HA!
     
  12. votrepear

    votrepear Member

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    If it weren't for the photographs there would be no point to it.
     
  13. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    Dear 2F/2F,
    Every time I read a thread and see your comments I don't have to write anymore: you have said it for me.
    Photography to me is a way of life, a way of looking at the world outside, so photography itself is more important to me than having stacks of prints.

    This way of living can be a burden onto a relationship with some-one that does not understand this, that does not understand that you need diferent gear for diferent shots.
    I have 3 camera-systems: 35 (D now a day's ), MF and LF and have been using that for the past 30 years.
    And yes, I have a bit of GAS aswell: a new camera is allways a chalenge or at least something to satisfy my curiosity.

    As I said: its a way of living........

    Peter
     
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  15. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member
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    Sometimes the process itself is important to the person.

    I regularly do a six mile walk which starts at my house and ends at my house. Logically, I could dispense with the walking bit and be at my house an hour and a half earlier!


    Steve.
     
  16. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    I get about 70% of my photographic satisfaction in the way the act of photographing opens me fully. While wandering through nature my level of awareness in finding interrelated elements, deciding on the strongest vantage point, then coming up with the best exposure / development combination goes into hyper drive in a way that just doesn't occur in 'normal life'. About 20% comes from turning the lights on while fixing the negatives in open trays and getting my first quick peeks at them. The last 10% would be seeing them printed, matted, and framed on a wall.

    Murray
     
  17. rusty_tripod

    rusty_tripod Member

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    I photography as a distraction from the stress and challenges of my day job...school teacher. However, I have been a fan of photography from my earliest days, back when crime magazines were printed with black and white Speed Graphic images. With a degree in art (drawing and painting), I like photography on different levels.

    The first developing I witnessed was at a traveling carnival set up in a park in our rural town. The guy was developing booth shots by hand. As such I love the mystery and charisma of black and white film.
     
  18. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    For me it's not photography until it's a print, I don't care for projected images. I did digital for about 10 years and was never quite satisfied with ink prints, went totally back to the darkroom 2 years ago and have been happy ever since. :D Evan Clarke
     
  19. jnantz

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    hi 2F 2F

    i am kind of like you ..
    i never get to galleries or museums
    and spend more time shooting than doing anything else.
    i often ask myself why ..
    and i am not able to really come up with an answer ..
    but i am sort of a different person with a camera (doesn't matter what kind) than without.
    i am kind of shy and keep to myself, but a camera allows me to speak with people
    i never have access to. i work professionally with a camera as well, and i have had access to
    all sorts of things as a regular person i would never know existed, and i have had access
    to people a regular person would never get a chance to speak with as well.
    every time i photograph place or a stranger i learn about them and i learn more about myself.
    i wish i had more time to print the film, because whenever i am making prints
    i think about the people and things i photographed, and look forward to meeting them again
    to give them their print/s.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 10, 2009
  20. BobNewYork

    BobNewYork Member

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    I enjoy all of it - but never at the same stage. There are times when it is just the act of photographing which motivates me; there are times when I do little picture-taking and spend my time in the darkroom and there are times when I visit galleries or look through the books I have accumulated over the years. At any given time I will be into only one of the parts - but I think I need all of them.

    Now you have me thinking "Why?" - and my brain hurts:tongue: I'll get back to you!

    Bob H
     
  21. white.elephant

    white.elephant Member

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    For me, I am a creative type who yearns to communicate with others. Photography is the way I express myself creatively, it is the medium in which I feel the most free to just create.

    And I love the bits and bobs of cameras. The lenses, the thought process, the working on the image.

    But for me, I need to be able to get it out there and see what people think, good or bad. prints, online, whatever. That's why I have a blog.
     
  22. Dave in Kansas

    Dave in Kansas Member

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    I do photography for several reasons. Like 2F/2F, I don't go to galleries or buy books, although I appreciate what others do.

    I like the fact that it gets me outside to look at things, and my favorite subjects are the old things - buildings in small towns, old bridges, steam locomotives are great - those things that capture well in black and white and make timeless images. I enjoy looking back at them occasionally and remembering how things looked, and often my photo subjects have been changed or erased by history. As time passes, many of them bring back memories of good times, especially those taken of family and friends and events.

    Taking the photograph is fun and I enjoy that most out away from everyone else, unless there's someone else also taking pictures. I always feel a little self-conscious taking pictures in town with hundreds of people driving by, some probably wondering what the weirdo is doing with the funny looking camera and wondering "Why is he taking a picture of "that"?".

    The darkroom time is enjoyable too as long as it doesn't get to be a chore. It can be quite relaxing.

    Last and not least is the fact that my cameras are somewhat mechanical and i like mechanical things.
     
  23. David William White

    David William White Member

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    With me, shooting is hell. The logistics, equipment, weather, permission, wrangling folks, etc. are things that need to be dealt with to get the imagery, but it's often a struggle making everything come together. I am totally at peace in the darkroom, finally making the print I wanted in the first place.

    My theory is that if I keep trying, I'll get much better and more confident at the shooting part.
     
  24. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    I think the main reason we all photograph comes out in our subject matter. Sure we all have photographs of just about anything. But we tend to roll with a theme.

    For me it is solitude. Those quiet places away from the hustle and bustle. As evidenced in my predominantly landscape and macro imagery.
     
  25. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I believe that photographers generally develop more sensitivity to time and to light and its many nuances. Overall, I feel much closer to subjects after I photograph them.

    What most motivates my photography is learning how to see... beyond the superificial level of whether a subject will make a catchy photograph that may or may not print well or get noticed or whatever.

    I confess that I tend to avoid shows etc. as I typically find them to be too much to take in all at once. I do enjoy leafing through books from time to time but feel that certain photographers spend/spent too much time exerting influence on how others see.
     
  26. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member
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    I agree alot with Dave above. For me it's more about just shooting when I'm out enjoying myself, seeing and exploring new things. I do love the act of photography and sometimes find myself out shooting, knowing that the light is horrible or that this entire roll is going to be wasted, but I do it simply because I like how I feel doing it, composing and pressing the shutter.

    As far as prints, I do enjoy printing, but only photographs that are truly my best work. Scanning film is nice in the fact that I can view my photos on the computer for weeks and see if an image grows on me before I print. But once I make a great print, it is enjoyable to view. And alot of my work brings back memories and feelings of not just that day and place, but of how I was feeling, and where I was at in my life at the time. I think that might be the strongest reason I photograph, to view my life looking back and to see where I'm going. It is truly a powerful art.
     
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