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Why do you take photographs?

Discussion in 'Micro 4/3 News and Rumors' started by richiebee, Jul 28, 2010.

  1. richiebee

    richiebee Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 26, 2010
    St. John's, NL, Canada
    I'm curious as to what motivated you to get into this area of interest. What do you take photographs of? When you pick up your camera, what do you think?

    For professionals, on assignment, this is a relatively easy to answer question, so I'm more interested in the opinions of hobbyists at all levels.

    Is it your family? Your pets (same thing right?)? A love for scenery? Or is it because you just like the idea of taking snapshots of life?

    I'm not sure what I'm expecting in response to this question, and have no idea where (if anywhere) this thread will go. I guess to some extent, I'm trying to justify why I want a new camera so much. I don't tend to get GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome), and have more than enough other things to spend my hard earned money on (I'm a technology based musician - it's all expensive, and there's lots of it!). My wife refuses to have her photo taken, and she's the only family I have within a couple of thousand miles. I enjoy scenery, but probably spent the first four or five of my years in Newfoundland capturing all there is here. I have no pets (though a dog is hopefully in the near future). I don't often go on vacation. I have no idea why I want to up the standard of my photo taking. It doesn't bother me enough to stop me from spending my money - I will get my money's worth out of any camera I buy. But I would love to be able to justify it to myself, and I'm hoping that a reply or two from you will make it click in my mind - oh yeah, that's why I'm doing this, or even make me think of something new.

    • Like Like x 6
  2. AlanT

    AlanT Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 8, 2010
    Perth, Scotland
    A very good question Rich. It actually made me use my brain :biggrin:

    Here's why I photograph:
    - When I started out the gear was a factor that kept me interested but as time goes on it has become much less important.
    - I like to photograph the landscape around me (whether I'm hiking, biking, or simply just there) in different seasons because I often find the images visually appealing and they remind me of the experience of being there. I'm at my happiest when I'm hill walking, and the photographs remind me of those times when I've been in wondrous awe at the scenery around me.
    - I photograph my daughter (a lot!) because it's fun times while she's very young and it'll be great to look back at these memories.
    - I like to try to create art, which I'm not always successful at, but I give it a go!
  3. photoSmart42

    photoSmart42 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 12, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    I suppose I take pictures to express my individuality. I enjoy sharing my vision of the world with others. I don't limit myself to shooting any particular kind of scenery because I feel I have something to say about everything I see, but I'm fond of macro and street photography.

    It's also been satisfying my desire to tinker with different types of gear since I've gotten into the m4/3 format. I've acquired a number of 35mm film cameras since then, and I'm getting into medium and large format film photography as well (time and money permitting). I want to see how different types of media allow me to express my vision.

    So for me, photography appeals to the artist, to the engineer, and to the storyteller in me.
  4. G1 User

    G1 User Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 20, 2010
    I do take family stuff... always good to have a photo history for those generations later to see how we did it (live). And have a few laughs too. And, it may be important for stuff we have no idea why right now.

    As a hobby: I like to use Photography as a "De-Stress" agent. I like the nature and life-style genres. Candid Street photography does help me stay bold in public with my camera.
    I try express an artistic side as far as composition and what not....Maybe not inner feelings though.

    I have done, and still do a little studio stuff now and again. I have a 2 very large collapsible backgrounds(16x8) and two 320ws lights. I can do on the road studios if I need to also, for family or model/portrait sessions.
  5. Darell Miller

    Darell Miller Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 14, 2010
    To give myself a creative outlet. I have an analytically based job in the City where there is little pure creativity and I felt that his was drying up so I wanted to get it going again. Also I was frustrated by the limitations of POS cameras as it felt like it decided on what the shot should be not me. As I pointed out to my wife its a lot cheaper than buying a sports car and having a mid-life crisis!
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  6. Bill H

    Bill H Mu-43 Rookie

    May 6, 2010
    Santa Rosa, CA
    I was getting ready to retire from running my own business for many years and knew I needed something to keep my creative juices going. I did photography in the 70's and in the meantime took snapshots of the family. After retiring I got a Nikon D70 took a trip to Alaska and the rest is history. I decided to take classes at our local junior college in photography. It then became something of creating artistic beauty. To express myself in both the mechanics of good photography and being artistic expression. I take photos so when I show someone a pic they take more than two seconds to look at it. I enjoy photographing everything I can from landscape to studio portraits. I have taken on street photography now, especially with my GF1. I especially enjoy taking the photos in the classic b & w. , fixed lens 20mm, on the street anywhere I go. I use both my GF1 and my Nikon D700 with a lot of good glass to have a wonderful hobby and enjoy putting good photographs on my walls and on my website.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. antithetic

    antithetic Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 7, 2010
    City of Angels
    I grew up in a family where my father and uncles were avid photographers but not necessarily skilled so sitting through those vacation photos was pretty bad experience. :wink: Through several twists of fate, I find myself deep into something I had shunned for so long.

    Like many others, photography allows for a creative outlet I've not explored. I also feel that it exercises a different set of neurons in my brain and allows the ones that deal with the day to day a welcome respite.

    I still have much to learn about photography and glad I can observe and learn with such a talented group here.
  8. richiebee

    richiebee Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 26, 2010
    St. John's, NL, Canada
    Thanks for all the interesting responses so far (and keep them coming). I think so far I'm mostly relating to the relaxation of it. For me this is more in the editing process since taking the picture is often still something of a challenge! :D 
  9. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Why do I photograph? Because I have to.
    I am not complete without photography. It's been said that if you work in a memory based frame of mind that your being sentimental. Well, the thing photography serves best is memory. Family snaps, probably the single most important reason to make images is memory based.
    I do event work of all kinds and that also is memory based work.
    My personal Street work is I guess memory based in a creative sort of way.

    So, in a way, I see myself as a dream weaver for the future.
    We really all are dream weavers but some go on without the intent of being so.
    So you see, life is a dream, I am the dream weaver that records those moments of time that eventually some one will be very grateful to recollect and see that the existence of a life really was here. My images will support the dream of a life of those I make images of.
    Why do I photograph? Because I have to.
    • Like Like x 5
  10. sebastel

    sebastel Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 18, 2010
    not your business
    so far, same with me.

  11. grebeman

    grebeman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    When I started photography about 40 years ago my main interest was in black and white landscape using roll film cameras generally taking 6cm x 9cm negatives on 120 roll film and doing my own developing and printing. My hero at that time was Ansel Adams. I did do some street photography occasionally using my Mamiya Press camera with it's interchangeable lenses and film backs until I bought a much loved secondhand Leica M3.
    When I was encouraged back into the hobby in 2001 it was as a result of being invited to sit in on a nature photography course held at the field centre where I volunteer my time on the attached nature reserve. It was the first year that the lecturer introduced digital techniques into the course and I was hooked. I used a borrowed 2Mp Nikon 800 camera and couldn't believe the results obtained from this little plastic box.
    I still keep in touch with that lecturer and indeed will hopefully be going out in the field on the annual course which starts this weekend. My photography has been almost exclusively nature subject based since then although I really must give landscape photography another go with the aim of producing black and white pictures again. Sadly this country has become much more crowded in the intervening years and I imagine that it will be more difficult to find locations unspoilt by the presence of people.
    Since I have neither family or pets those subjects are not open to me.
    I have been a bird watcher for 50 years but feel no urge to photograph them (maybe that will change), my quarry is more usually insects in the form of butterflies, moths and dragonflies in the main. In looking for this miniature world within a world I am "forced" (in a very pleasant sense) to look closely for the often ignored world close to my feet and in so doing I become absorbed, the passage of time becomes meaningless and any other concerns in my life are forgotten about. In photographing these subjects my lifelong interest in the natural world has widened considerably and I might now be tempted to refer to myself as a naturalist rather than an ornithologist, although photography is probably still in second place, but only just and who knows, it might move into first place in the near future.

    • Like Like x 2
  12. julienrl

    julienrl Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 28, 2010
    Ottawa, Ontario
    I will confess, I do get GAS! but I can't afford to, so I am fairly good at containing myself. As for why I take pictures, I think the story of why I changed to mu43 says it all! :) 

    One day (15 months ago) came along my wonderful son, and only then did I realize what a pain it truly was to carry my D70s, 18-200mm lens, flash and filters (still for sale fyi ;)  ), so I changed it all for a mu43 (EPL1) so i could get most of the versatility I had but the portability. I am torn and sad that I must sell my camera that I loved using so much, but whenever I think "oh why", I just smile and think of all the snapshots and video clips I will be able to take. I will always enjoy composing shots for expressive purposes, but nothing will ever beat getting a picture of my son's expression when he makes a new discovery, even if no one but his parents and grandparents will ever care to see that picture.

    Wide angle lenses are great for this. As long as you keep people in the dark of just how wide wide lenses can get, you can easily get them in the last quarter or even third of the frame without them knowing ;)  I wouldn't do this to just anyone, but sometimes you can sneak a shot by, and usually if they don't expect it they turn out goo enough for them to want to keep it!


    • Like Like x 1
  13. chalkdust

    chalkdust Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 29, 2009
    McKinney, Texas
    With an active extended family within a mile of my home, granddaughters are a primary subject. My wife and I travel at least once a year, so supplying landscape, architecture, and snapshot images for my wife's scrapbooks is next on the list.

    I enjoy the thrill of seeing images that I made.

    I like m4/3 because the equipment is good enough to help me create images that require little post processing. I do NOT make or particularly like heavily post-processed, composite, better-than-the-real-thing images.

    My photography comes and goes. For some weeks I take many shots each week. Then for some weeks I seldom pick up the camera. Then I see it on the shelf and long for the thrill of seeing images that I made.
  14. ajramirez

    ajramirez Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 16, 2010
    Caguas, Puerto Rico

    You, my friend, are a photographer and a poet (and of course a musician).

    Best regards,

    • Like Like x 1
  15. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    I just started getting into photography about a year ago (out of boredom, really). I sometimes struggle with the same question, though. Why should I take a photo of a daisy? There are a billion photos of daisies and most of them will be better than mine. Why should take a photo of a sunset? To show people what a sunset look like.....we all know what sunsets look like. So, I will continue to ask "why photograph things", but as long as I get joy from pressing the shutter or processing the image in Photoshop or sharing with strangers on flickr or here at mu43.....I'll keep doing it. It seems like I'll be doing it for many years before I have an answer.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Photography is not just about making memories for others. It's also about proving to others that we existed. How many trillions of tourist stand in front of The Liberty Bell, London Bridge etc? They do so because it proves they were there in that moment of time. It proves that they existed.
    As photographers, we are in the process of recording our own proof of existence.
    So never think that what you do with a camera is not worthy. Never discount the very importance of your own daisy......it proves to others that you were here and cared enough to make an image.

    In the end my friend, memories are all that will remain, and the photos we make to support those memories.
    • Like Like x 4
  17. JoepLX3

    JoepLX3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 13, 2010
    Yeah, it is about capturing a moment/memory you can share with others (at any other time/location), enabling to tell your view/story of life. And just like writing a book, photography gives you the oppertunity to add a personal aspect (even if you are not on the photo yourself). Therefore I see this hobby also a pure art shape, with the challenge to draw attention even of people that don't know you nor are actually interessed in in daisy or London.

    The fun aspect of this hobby to my is that it is very easy to get started with early results, you can easily bring it with you and you can continue learning with others for ever!!!
  18. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    You are always in the photograph. It would not exist without you. What you see, what you feel, what you try to express is easily read in the image.
  19. Optical Thrombosis

    Optical Thrombosis Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 10, 2010
    Why do I take photos? I can't paint or draw for toffee, but I love a creative still image, this combined with being a raging tech-head who loves gadgets, photography is a natural choice for me.

    For me it's partly about memories, partly an expression of who I am. It takes on a spiritual dimension for me.

    In photographing the natural world I share this moto with the great Colin Prior: Take only pictures, Leave only footprints.
  20. PeterB666

    PeterB666 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 14, 2010
    Tura Beach, Australia
    The bottom line is I take photographs because I like to.

    I enjoy the process, I enjoy getting out and go places I haven't been to before (I am principally a landscaper) and at times I would have never (or rarely) ventured out to before (pre-dawn, dawn and the seaside in foul weather) and I enjoy the mechanics of photography.

    Last of all, I enjoy my interaction with other photographers.

    Sometimes I even enjoy the photos that I make.
    • Like Like x 1
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