What's the Balance of the Role of Photography for You?

agentlossing

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I've thought a bit about what role photography has in the mental workings of my strange and terrifying mind. It's not what I'd call my first love, but my second - writing is my first. But at the same time, I drew obsessively as a kid, and making pictures of that sort progressed into my teens until I really started wanting to write. I think photography taps into that visual creativity of my early years, while satisfying in a quicker, more visceral way the desire to get something inside of me out, so to speak. Writing takes a good deal more time and peace and quiet for me in general. It's just not easy to devote enough time to it with an adult life and full time employment, but I still try to eke things out in the quiet moments. If I had only writing and no photography (an unlikely scenario since cameras are ubiquitous) I would probably go crazy trying to balance out time to write with the rest of life.

Interestingly enough, while I'd love to eventually write for a living, I have no desire to do that, whatsoever, with photography. There is literally no allure in the professional photographer's world for me.
 

ralf-11

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This naked looking dude handed me a camera one day, and I realized it was a lot of fun!
 

ralf-11

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Wow - just read the OP. A blogger doesn't have something "figured out as to its place in his life" ???

How surprising!
 

mary

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I started taking pictures around twelve years old. My young nephews moved into the house due to my sisters divorce. I loved documenting their lives and so began my journey. At 73, I find myself doing the same for my grandchildren. As the fifth child in a family there are very few pictures of me growing up. Subconsciously, I thought I will not let this happen to my children or grandchildren. Along the way I have shot several wedding, Tedx Talks, Music concerts, Dance recitals and various sporting events..all very enjoyable. In recent years, I have tried to branch out to include landscapes, wildlife, and some macro. When I go through my catalog, its always the people that tug at my heart so I have to say portrait photography is my passion, and that includes wildlife. I happily cart my gear out to help out someone who needs a head shot, or baby pictures, or event shots..no charge as I don't need the anymore anymore. People say "you should not work for free" I say phooey. I do what brings me joy.
 
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John M Flores

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When I was younger, I liked taking pictures but I liked doing things more. I preferred riding mountain bikes more than taking photos of others riding mountain bikes. I liked going to concerts and letting the music wash over me more than taking photos at concerts.

And it's still that way. In my job as a motorcycle photojournalist, I am constantly an arm's-length from a moment because I am constantly thinking about how to capture that very moment instead of just experiencing it. The second you lift a camera to your eye or peer at the rear screen, you separate yourself from the moment and become an observer, not a participant.

It's a compromise that I've consciously made because I feel that there is value in telling a story and inspiring other people to see the world on two wheels. And it's nice to get paid to travel. But some of my most vivid motorcycle memories are moments of indescribable beauty and wonder when I literally told myself, "Don't take out the camera. Just ride."

There's nothing like being flat out on the Patagonian plains by John Flores, on Flickr
 
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JG Hall

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I've thought a bit about what role photography has in the mental workings of my strange and terrifying mind. It's not what I'd call my first love, but my second - writing is my first. But at the same time, I drew obsessively as a kid, and making pictures of that sort progressed into my teens until I really started wanting to write. I think photography taps into that visual creativity of my early years, while satisfying in a quicker, more visceral way the desire to get something inside of me out, so to speak. Writing takes a good deal more time and peace and quiet for me in general. It's just not easy to devote enough time to it with an adult life and full time employment, but I still try to eke things out in the quiet moments. If I had only writing and no photography (an unlikely scenario since cameras are ubiquitous) I would probably go crazy trying to balance out time to write with the rest of life.

Interestingly enough, while I'd love to eventually write for a living, I have no desire to do that, whatsoever, with photography. There is literally no allure in the professional photographer's world for me.
I relate to this so much as I'd also say writing is my first love and photography fits the hobby like a glove.
 

JG Hall

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When I was younger, I liked taking pictures but I liked doing things more. I preferred riding mountain bikes more than taking photos of others riding mountain bikes. I liked going to concerts and letting the music wash over me more than taking photos at concerts.

And it's still that way. In my job as a motorcycle photojournalist, I am constantly an arm's-length from a moment because I am constantly thinking about how to capture that very moment instead of just experiencing it. The second you lift a camera to your eye or peer at the rear screen, you separate yourself from the moment and become an observer, not a participant.

It's a compromise that I've consciously made because I feel that there is value in telling a story and inspiring other people to see the world on two wheels. And it's nice to get paid to travel. But some of my most vivid motorcycle memories are moments of indescribable beauty and wonder when I literally told myself, "Don't take out the camera. Just ride."

View attachment 711373There's nothing like being flat out on the Patagonian plains by John Flores, on Flickr
Love the picture, taken with the favourite camera and lens combo I also own :)
 

D7k1

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Photography has, since 1965, been a part of my life. I've always had a element of photography in my work and I've always been drawn to the B&W side. I really have never shot for anyone else although I've had clients and sold images. If I like what I do, I don't care if anyone else likes it. Not one client has ever refused my work, but now I won't shot for money, I have more than enough to get me through retirement. So every day if I see something that moves me, I image with a camera or a DNG cell phone. I love photography and care very little about gear, unless I need a special piece of gear for imaging (like my telescopes). People like my images, some a lot. And yes, that makes me feel "good", but its when I feel good that the love of photography comes out.
 

JensM

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Photography has been some part of me since the early 70s, looking at my grandfathers set-up of Topcon SLR and TLR Yashica. Bought my first own SLR at 12 or 13, a Pentax MG with a 50, 135 and the then new-fangled 28, used every dark room I managed to gain excess to. Were cameraless from 86-89 and have had some sort of gear since then. Worked some freelance stuff and P&I during the 90s as well as selling the stuff. Forsworn it after some dabbing with a scanner, LR for windows version 1.3 or thereabout in the late 90s, and went digital point and shoot in 03, shot my last roll of film in the slr in 05. Tried an advanced model Powershot, and then tried a Dslrs after that, it never clicked back untill I found M43, which I have been using since very early spring in 16.

Currently thinking about output in other ways than just keeping my "take" on the HD, fancy a medium format (film) camera, a lusting I have had since pretty much forever, and just joined a camera club, so I am working towards something or the other in the photography dept.
 

Mike Wingate

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I like to record, scenes, objects, projects. 45 years ago, one of my friends wished he had a camera and 200mm telehoto lens. Then he would go to Oxford Street in London and take photos of people. If I take photos of people, it is generally with a long lens. Photo Sniper.
 

Pavel M

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Me too! You know what I think is missing, or at least could be a lot better represented, is writing that uncovers the philosophy of photography. Way too many people saturate the market with technical advice, and a lot of it is exactly the same. I like to see more deep diving into the "purpose" that photography serves for those who are into it.
This is an excellent comment. I too am interested in the meaning of photography in my life. I may post on that separately
 

PhotoCal

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I think you are all lying.:biggrin:
Very few of us have anything figured out in life, at least not for very long.
Just when you think you do something comes along to throw it out of whack. Like a pandemic.
That's life.
 

agentlossing

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I think you are all lying.:biggrin:
Very few of us have anything figured out in life, at least not for very long.
Just when you think you do something comes along to throw it out of whack. Like a pandemic.
That's life.
You've got that right! I know that, currently, photography takes up a lot of my waking thought and enthusiasm, but I also know that my temperament trends toward long periods of waxing and waning with a given interest. So I'd never look to create a long term "personal brand" around a specific subject, I just know I'd lose passion for it and maybe regain it years down the road. I'm okay with the cyclical nature of my interests.
 

ex machina

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Growing up I had dual competing main interests: photography and music, and thought I might make a career out of either. When I moved out on my own I was too poor to do both, so one had to go.

The rock star thing didn't work out, and when I had kids I put the music gear aside and focused on my career. Somehow, I didn't pick up photography again in any real sense until I started carrying an iPhone around, and that lead me here.

Now the kids are grown, and with the pandemic keeping me at home it seemed to be a good time to take up the music I always threatened to do when I retired, so I rebuilt my studio, bought modern software, and started rebuilding calluses.

Like many of you I've made money with both my interests but prefer to keep it fun and arty by removing any pretense at making a living at either, though if I could do it on my own terms I suppose I might. I know I'm privileged to be able to entertain that idea.

Call it self-expression or therapy, or simply something to more productively fill the days. ¯ \_(ツ)_/¯
 
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Mike Peters
I consider myself remarkably lucky. I've been photographing since 1974, and making my living at it since 1979. All of that time, I've been passionate about making photos, like a committed amateur. I haven't lost my passion for it like so many pros that I've met along the way. It's a huge part of my life, but not my whole life either.

Like John Flores, I also ride a motorcycle. That is my little escape from making images. I used to try to do both, but then when you try to do two things at once, you do them both badly. When I ride, I revel in the beauty around me, and the sense of being in the moment interacting with the road, the machine and the world in front of me.

Whenever I leave my house, I bring my camera, but I don't always use it. I don't terrorize my family all day long either. When my kids were little, I made a conscious effort to put the damn camera down and just be with my kids. I wanted to be in the moment, and a camera makes you an observer, not a participant in what's going on. So, when I'm with family, I'm just another participant.

I go to work, and I make photos. And I go out just to make photos for myself too. Photography is a form of expression for me, where I get to let people know how I feel about what I see. I've been at it for a long time, but it doesn't define me. It's something I do that gives me a great deal of satisfaction. But then so does riding a motorcycle, or keeping a good relationship with my wife, my grown up kids, and my friends.

BTW, I've actually appeared on the EK blog:
https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2014/06/24/composition-lesson-14-square-format/ (scroll down)
https://erickimphotography.com/blog/2012/01/06/mike-peters-and-the-american-dream/ (all the links are broken, but the photos referenced are here: https://www.mikepeters-photography.com/Category/The-Dream)
 
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Hobby photography is a lot like fishing. Lots of expensive gear, and waiting for the right opportunity to use it. That's the sort of "right time, right place" sort of opportunity.

the screen door bangs

the wife
: "Did you catch one?"

me: "Nah, but it was fun being out there. Is there any beer in the fridge, I think I need one...."


With beer in hand, one then opens any thread by Phocal and wonders if the acquisition of an Oly 300mm would not change one's life totally.

Maybe a Sony A1. That would do it. Shit, why not buy two?
 
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