What is my purpose?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by thenextpage, Apr 9, 2015.

  1. thenextpage

    thenextpage Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 13, 2014
    Hello, can someone please tell me what is my purpose in life?

    Just kidding.. but seriously, I'd like to define some purpose for my shooting. I own some very nice Olympus M43 gear, and shoot when I have time as a hobby. I take lots of photos, and then take some of the ones that I particularly like and minimally process them through lightroom. Then what? I may print one every now and then, share some with a friend or two, put some on FB and get a few likes and maybe a comment, and the rest just sit here in digital space on my PC. I may look back at a photo more than once if I really like it - occasionally.

    So I find myself wondering, why am I doing this? I love photography and am having a blast learning as I go; but I think I'll need to have a shift in perspective as to what is driving me to do this if I'll continue the same. I feel as though I've adapted some skills that I'd like to continue developing and use somehow... if I can keep my interest long-term.

    If you'd be so kind to share what motivates you to keep shooting, to keep progressing in your photography - and even further what you do with your photos, I'd appreciate it.
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  2. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Don't think of an image you take today as the end. It is a mile stone in a life long journey of self expression, learning, exploration.

    I shoot both professionally and for my own edification. I use my personal work to help experiment with things that will help me in my jobs I'm hired to do.
    For me, this is my art. I like taking things that are out there, usually out of my control and expressing them in a way that appeals to me and hopefully gets people to see the world the way I do...a way to express without having to talk about it.

    I share my images because I like to hear how it affects people, either positive or negative - it is all a learning experience. As the saying goes (paraphrased), you learn more from your mistakes than your successes.

    I do print some of my images and use them to decorate my house. I share them with others who may not be able to go to the places I've gone....and they certainly will not have the same experience as me.

    Looking back, the one thing that absolutely hooks me is seeing someone that has not really had a good portrait of themselves, see your work and ask, in a good way, do I really look like that? I've had so many people tell me that they hate getting their picture taken because they don't think they look good. Its a combination of lighting, the right gear and technique for their face/body type. I guess at the end of the day, I like people to feel good about themselves and if I can do that through an image of them, then I think that is the least that I can do for them.
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  3. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    I have photo frame on my office desk and use screensaver on home PC to show my photos and remind me why I need to upgrade camera or get another lens :D
    • Like Like x 4
  4. lightmonkey

    lightmonkey Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 22, 2013
    i started long time ago as a hobby - something to waste time on
    big pause
    resumed as a means to capture travel in an aesthetically pleasing way
    now use it as a creative outlet, a hobby, and for posterity

    i also enjoy making prints for myself and to give to others
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. DaninFLA

    DaninFLA Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 2, 2015
    I've been photographing for a long time (well, long comparative to my age) and for me, the main reason has never been about anyone else. Sure, its nice when someone sees one of your photos and gives you a compliment, but its not what motivates me. I do it because I genuinely enjoy it, the whole thing. from taking the pictures, to editing and then printing. One of the biggest compliments is when someone asks you bring your camera along to an event and take a few pictures. its really nice to have an ability to provide something that others cant or wont do. I have done a few weddings for friends (I don't do any kind of professional photography), and while it was very stressful it turned out well and they were very happy. And I was probably even more happy that I was able to do it for them and save them a lot of much needed money to boot. Another aspect I really enjoy is teaching others. I have helped a lot of friends and family member's improve their photography by giving them hints and ideas to improve their typical cellphone pictures and point and shoots. Photography really is an art, and to me that means its more about the process than the end product.

    my suggestion is to try enjoy the process as much as possible and don't focus on the final print.
  6. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    My version of that question is "what am I trying to say". I get to a point where I want to get beyond just making images that please the eye and actually have an artistic vision. I live in Santa Fe, and we have the Santa Fe Photographers Workshops here. Every monday night during workshop season, the instructors give a presentation of their work. The ones that really engage me are the ones who have a clear vision and are trying to communicate something. Art can be a very powerful means of communication, but honestly, deciding what I want to say has been a difficult question to answer. Keep me posted on your search for photographic meaning.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. kingduct

    kingduct Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 12, 2013
    This is a really nice way to surprise people sometimes and can be very rewarding. Everybody shares on Facebook these days, but just giving somebody something tangible can bring a big smile.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    I'm happy with "excuse to get out of the house / get some sun occasionally", the photos I get out of it are just like added value :D
    • Like Like x 3
  9. inthecage

    inthecage Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 4, 2010
    North Ohio
    M Ferencz
    The purpose is that rare rush when everything including the subject aligns themselves. It has no monetary value for a hobbyist like myself, it just feels good. That and like somebody mentioned, it's a reason to get out and observe.
  10. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    That's a great question to ask and one I've asked myself as I sometimes question my need/want of yet another lens. I think everyone will have a different answer, but for me there are several reasons I spend time, energy and money to pursue photography.

    1) I've been the unofficial team photographer of my daughter's soccer teams for a number of years. After most games, I post pictures for them and there are hundreds of my pictures out there in Facebook land that I have taken and for which I get no credit. But I get the gratitude of parents and the girls. And given all the issues and pressures that teenage girls have to deal with today, I figure if my photos can help make a couple of them feel good about themselves as athletes and keep them playing rather than getting into other things, then all the time has been worth it.


    2) It's a way to document my life and preserve memories. From family events to trips adventuring with friends, taking pictures that are better than cell phone quality lets me relive and recall events and adventures in a way that I couldn't otherwise.


    3) It allows me to produce something of beauty. I'm not an artist or a creative person. I'm a logic and numbers-driven finance guy. I'll never paint a great painting, perform a difficult work of music, or build a piece of fine furniture. But photography allows me in some small way to be creative and attempt to be an artist. Even though it's usually just for me or for my family and friends, I find pleasure in the process of creating photos and hopefully improving my skills as time passes.


    For me, all that is enough. Just my $0.02 worth... :)
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  11. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    I have the double benefit of combining my photography with other things I like to do, like experiencing nature and traveling. I also started a photography blog to connect with people and broaden the hobby even more.

    If that is not enough, perhaps you can try to decide on a genre or a style to define your direction and give you a more concrete goal to strive for. For example, this year I am working on honing my macro photography. Having the goal gets me pumped, and also gives me something to write about and share.

    Lastly, it's just a good excuse to get out of the house and get some exercise (such as it is).
    • Like Like x 1
  12. DL Photo

    DL Photo Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 15, 2012
    Richmond, BC, Canada
    I purchased a 15" digital photoframe and have it mounted in my kitchen. I keep updating the photos. My guests are always commenting. We sometimes sit while having meals and just watch the pictures scroll by. Love the memories.

    I also put together photo books through Picaboo and have them on my coffee table in the living room. Again a good conversation piece and great for the memories.

    I also take pictures of my kids and their friends at their shooting events. The parents enjoy the images that I send to them. Feels good to help them out.

    So many ways to show off your pictures. Endless possibilities.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. flamingfish

    flamingfish Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 16, 2012
    With any activity, I find it easier to maintain my interest if I have some sort of community of people who share my interest. On-line communities are sometimes enough, but I'd recommend investigating some groups/clubs/meetups for photographers.
  14. macro

    macro Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jan 22, 2012
    New Zealand
    Talked about this with a few bird shooters I shoot with and why we keep taking the same types of shots all the time. Steve, Chris, Boney and I all have the same answer. We all want the perfect shot and of course that doesn't exist. I've never seen one or taken one and that's the drive personally. A never ending ride that I just love. Its been the drive for many years and will be for many more.

    All the best.

  15. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Your purpose is to find an avatar. Until then, you are nothing more than a blank page.
    • Funny Funny x 9
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  16. dogs100

    dogs100 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 12, 2011
    N Devon UK
    All the above ... there isn't a single answer is there, but a lot depends on the day
  17. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 20, 2015
    Ye may as well ask the meaning of life. There isn't an answer. Do what you enjoy doing because this world is all that's guaranteed, and our time is far too short to be worrying on foolish quests or questions.
  18. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    There is an answer. It's 42 :)
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  19. DaninFLA

    DaninFLA Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 2, 2015
    Also, whenever you aren't feeling inspired or motivated I find it beneficial to step outside of your comfort zone. I think sometimes we get stuck in our own style of photograpy and don't branch out. if you mostly do landscapes for instance, try some macro photography, or even some abstracts. stepping outside the comfort zone can really help light the spark.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. rbelyell

    rbelyell Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 15, 2013
    Mountains of NY
    this is a 'hobby' for you, not your job. and youre 'having a blast' doing it while 'learning' and 'improving'. make life easy on yourself and repeat after me: 'i need nothing more than that, i need nothing more than that'. happiness IS the point, so feel blessed youve found something besides work that brings you happiness because the vast majority of people in this world are not in a position to even have a hobby.
    • Like Like x 1
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