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Business / Philosophy of Photography Taking pics is one thing, but understanding why we take them, what they mean, what they are best used for, how they effect our reality -- all of these and more are important issues of the Philosophy of Photography. One of the best authors on the subject is Susan Sontag in her book "On Photography."

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why do i photograph?
Old 06-02-2009   #1
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why do i photograph?

ok, here is your chance to spout some philosophy...
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Old 06-02-2009   #2
Pickett Wilson
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Well, I've got all these cameras and lenses and I can't figure out anything else to do with them.
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Old 06-02-2009   #3
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it's about the only thing I can do that makes me feel happy and not have to worry about pleasing anyone else.....simple.
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Old 06-02-2009   #4
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The only way to spent lots of $$$$ and being able to "proof" that it was necessary to spent that $$$$ by showing some prints ...
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Old 06-02-2009   #5
le vrai rdu
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because I like it

why do I like it ? I don't know and don't want to I don't care
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Old 06-02-2009   #6
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I photograph to photograph. And I photograph to photograph because...

Oh, hell. What Winogrand said.

Edit: To embellish with a bit less flippancy, I mainly photograph:

- to discover

- to rediscover

- to remember

That's it. And, it's fun, but the fun is interwoven with all the above.


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Last edited by amateriat : 06-02-2009 at 18:56.
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Old 06-02-2009   #7
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...to see what something looks like photographed?

Todd
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Old 06-02-2009   #8
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Its the only thing that really SILENCES my Mind....

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Old 06-02-2009   #9
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I photograph because....

I like it , i have no way of explaining it , but its enjoyable and its a great time sink.
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Old 06-02-2009   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd.Hanz View Post
...to see what something looks like photographed?

Todd
Yeppers.

I like Helen's comment as well.


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Old 06-02-2009   #11
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My family had no TV 'till I was quite old. My pa was an avid reader of newspapers though, and news magazines. We'd sit together and he'd explain the goings on in the world to me, and we'd discuss the photos.

I suppose that this was towards the end of the period of great photojournalism in the press. The images were striking and always stuck in my mind. The conflicts in east asia and all manner of turmoil in africa and india. I wanted to be like those guys, reporting the news from all over the world and bringing the images into the homes of normal folk.
All quite impossible at twelve years of age equipped only with the family box brownie.

I got there, later in life with the proper equiptment, and still get an enormous pleasure when seeing how I can depict the world and the goings on around me.
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Old 06-02-2009   #12
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I agree with the previous comments, and would like to add:

- it's good exercise to grab a camera and walk or bike for miles. It also gives a good motivation to exercise... to take pictures!

- Sometimes I see something and I think, "you know, I bet nobody has ever before taken a picture of this." At that point, a photograph becomes a historical document.
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Old 06-02-2009   #13
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Sometimes, to make something interesting or beautiful to look at.

Sometimes, to just document our lives and friends and family.

Sometimes, just because I'm bored.

Always, because I like it. It's always a challenge, in a good way. And I always look forward to seeing the negatives, slides and prints. That's like opening a present.

-Laura
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Old 06-02-2009   #14
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to capture memories to remind me of where i was what i was doing, whom i was with, why i live...
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Old 06-02-2009   #15
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I photograph because I like people. I especially like people doing what they love to do, hence my frequent visits to 'events' of all kinds.

I photograph because I am curious. I had no idea what a tattoo convention was like, or an exotica event, or even a rodeo, up close and personal.

I photograph because it gives me entry into worlds that are not necessarily my own. As a photographer, I need no other explanation as to why I am anywhere.

I photograph because I think other people might like to see the things I see.

I photograph because I think someone ought to, especially the fleeting moments of people being people, which are too soon lost, discarded as mundane and ephemeral.

I photograph because I feel creative. I express my creativity in many ways, including writing, but I truly enjoy getting out and expressing myself with images I take.

I photograph because some part of me wants others to see things through my eyes, to perhaps understand my perspective in some way.

I photograph because it is a constant challenge and something not easily mastered.

I photograph because someday I won't be able to do it anymore. Photos will be nice to look at, besides just having memories.
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Old 06-02-2009   #16
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Damn it, people, you're all stunning me with your comments....!

(Bill: How many nails can you hit on the head in one night?)


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Last edited by amateriat : 06-02-2009 at 18:43.
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Old 06-02-2009   #17
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The question isn't Why do I photograph? The question is Why do the Gods keep placing objects in my path that need photographed?
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Old 06-02-2009   #18
le vrai rdu
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god god god ? is this guy american ?
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Old 06-02-2009   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by le vrai rdu View Post
god god god ? is this guy american ?
Easy there...I'm agnostic, yet even I sort of grok his point.


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Old 06-02-2009   #20
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Because I can communicate with photography better than with words.
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Old 06-02-2009   #21
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I have to.
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Old 06-02-2009   #22
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I photograph because I suck at painting.

Seriously, I photograph because it is a creative outlet for me that I find satisfying. Photography helps me see the beauty in the mundane, and show proof.
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Old 06-02-2009   #23
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Quote:
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I photograph because I suck at painting.
My mother was an accomplished painter, and that was (half-jocularly) my excuse early on; she admonished me, saying that my creative pursuits shouldn't be tainted by the notion of failure at something else. That sobered me a bit.

Quote:
Seriously, I photograph because it is a creative outlet for me that I find satisfying. Photography helps me see the beauty in the mundane, and show proof.
I like that a lot.


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Old 06-02-2009   #24
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Intro to Western Philosophy 101
First Lesson: The Great Philosophers

Rene Descartes: I think, therefore I am.
David Hume: I am, therefore I think.
Soren Kierkegaard: Do it or don't. (You will regret both.)
Albert Camus: To do is to be.
Jean-Paul Sarte: To be is to do.
Frank Sinatra: Doo bee doo bee doo (strangers in the night, exchanging glances...)
Romper Room: Do be a do bee. Don't be a don't bee. (Only an American growing up in the 60's will remember this one. A slogan from a kids tv show of that era.)
Popeye the Sailor: I yam, what I yam.

I think this next one fits me best:

Quote:
Originally Posted by acheyj View Post
I have to.

Last edited by robklurfield : 06-03-2009 at 04:15.
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Old 06-02-2009   #25
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Well, it beats wearing a hair shirt! Seriously though, whether I'm using a camera or not, I'm always taking pictures with my eyes. Don't really know why. I guess I'm just hard wired that way!
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Old 06-03-2009   #26
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For me its the perfect combination of the creative and the technical .
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Old 06-03-2009   #27
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... because it pisses the hell out of authorities, people that have something to hide, and close-minded/paranoid people.......

.... oh, and I do it because I like to be able to look back in time. I don't have a photographic memory.
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Old 06-03-2009   #28
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That’s easy; I spent lots of money on this nice shiny photographic stuff, and now I feel I must justify the expense … or maybe just fooling myself, and I’m merely an artist after all, who can tell?
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Old 06-03-2009   #29
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I photograph because in photography I found a vehicle through life. I have an overactive mind and under-active ability to deal with a lot of life directly. In photography I managed to find something that enables another way of life. I channel my life through the camera, and in doing so discover things that would have remained hidden otherwise.

I continue to photograph because, as difficult as it is at times, photography is something that always allows me a way to move forward in life in one way or another. I have struggled with ADD, with depression, with any number of things, but photography has remained constant.

How could I turn my back on something like that?
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Old 06-03-2009   #30
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feels right.
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Old 06-03-2009   #31
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I guess for the same reason I do nuclear physics. It is enough to know a bit about it and people find you cool , but otherwise - given the results so far - I am probably only compensating for something (especially with my 4x5 Tachi )
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Old 06-03-2009   #32
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Helen's comment is good and many others also relate to the taking of the picture or the doing of photography. I find this like bird watching: utterly absorbing and very restful, trying to see the photograph and not just a snap, thinking about the light, the geometry, the depth of field, stopping the motion or not stopping the motion. Then there is the end product, which with film you wait for, the negative, the print, the after-thought shot that far exceeds my expectations, the very rare image whose geometry stops me in my tracks, or the smile of my daughter or the beauty of her hands. And then there is the intervening technical challenge, the hand-held lightmeter taking an incident reading, lifting the 50 year old M2 with its tiny 35 to take the shot, knowing exactly where in its downward trajectory that camera's shutter release button will trip the shutter, knowing I can just hand-hold 1/4s, the smell of the equipment, the look of disbelief from those nearby as you take the bottom off the camera and produce from your pocket what looks like a roll of film. All those dos quoted above from the great philosophers are all encompassed in this.
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Old 06-03-2009   #33
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Old 06-03-2009   #34
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Because they run away from me and if I have a picture I can keep them in my closet of souls forever...

And in reality, because I enjoy the sound the shutter makes and I enjoy seeing the results.
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Old 06-03-2009   #35
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Quote:
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Anna Counta
I must be missing something here. Acuna M'tata?
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Old 06-03-2009   #36
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It's what I always say top the kids when they do the "why, why, why" thing Bill. Anna Counta = 'on account of', but I pretend that she's a long lost czarina.

ps, look. I have 1024 posts - the magic K!
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Old 06-03-2009   #37
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Uh, Joe is asking us why he photographs.
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Old 06-03-2009   #38
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Quote:
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Uh, Joe is asking us why he photographs.
Oh, that's a much harder question then. I looked at his flickr profile for a clue, but all it said was "I'm male."
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Old 06-03-2009   #39
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Quote:
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Uh, Joe is asking us why he photographs.
LMFAO

Dunno about him, but I do it because I'm crap at it and know I'll get better. Even if I get really good at it I'll still be able to improve. Will this lead to frustration?
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Old 06-03-2009   #40
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I'll go with Winogrand... I photograph to see what things look like photographed.
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