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Old 11-16-2004, 01:16 PM
pentax pentax is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2004
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Default Why?

Hey there, I'm new to this community but I was hoping you might be able to help me with a concern I have related to photography (which i've been doing as an enthusiastic amateur for almost 10years). I don't know how many of you have read Susan Sontag's 'On Photography' but since I finished it I have almost stopped taking photos because I keep asking myself "What's the point?"
Take 'TrekEarth' as an example: hundreds of members, almost 100,000 photos on just ONE site. With the increasing accessibility of (especially digital) photography there are so many images out there I start to wonder why I bother - how many people will ever see mine or have the time to appreciate them?!

How do other people deal with this issue, or do you just not think about it?

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Old 11-16-2004, 01:54 PM
sohrab sohrab is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 2,214
Default Re: Why?

in a way you're right
there are lots of very talented not only on this site but also all over hte world, who go totally unnoticed. but if you take your photographs, there 's a greater chance that you'll get noticed than if you don't.
i mean what's the point of working??? so many times it happens that you put in all you've got and the boss doesnt notice it. it can be pretty disheartening but it doesnt mena that you stop working. maybe this example is not the best. maybe someone else will be able to express it better. it's kind of difficult for me to be a little logical about this , because when i'm taking photographs i dont take them, with an objective of getting noticed ( although yes it'll do me a lot of good if they do :))
i take photographs because i get lost in my own world when im looking through the view finder. things start to get clearer , i notice great details of life which i wouldnt if i were to look around myself just like that. for my photography is a medium of expression , perhaps the best medium, since i'm kind of secretive about my thoughts and feelings ( i'm in a way contradicting myself while telling you all this, but what the hell... :))
it's like a vent to me , allowing myself to express , even when i just need to get stuff out of my system and at the same time don't want to open up to people , so in a way it helps.
actually there are too many more reasons why i love photography.
but since you talked about statstics , let me add something here.
don't you think that the fact that there are almost 100,000 photographs and that too just on one site can play to you r advantage. most of these are so much alike. if you're different and bring something new to photography, maybe you have a better chance to get noticed over here :)
take care
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Old 11-16-2004, 02:19 PM
MKING MKING is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 376
Default Re: Why?

Hi Sean,

Couple of things:

I haven't read her book but have heard it's name and author.

Photography to me is a joint venture; when you're passionate about photography it probably has to correlate to a passion in another area for it to survive and retain meaning. For me photography allows me to connect with people directly/indirectly and with my immediate surroundings. I'm passionate about the city I live in and curious about human nature both here and abroad. Photography feeds off that and gives it purpose.

While I like my pictures to be seen and appreciated it really doesn't bother me much when they have to compete in this veritable jungle of images. For others its a passion for outdoors and landscapes, for seascapes, for transport, for history, for nature and bugs etc-- I don't think it's possible to have photography exist without something else to drive it. Well, there are the gear lovers who just junk up on photography material but don't really do much it.

Probably time to take stock, look back over your decade of archives and work out what it is that drives your photography-- that drives you too and photograph that.

Bottom line; what are you passionate about and how can your photography can compliment or even enhance your passions. That will let it's purpose ring through.


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Old 11-16-2004, 02:24 PM
PLD_images PLD_images is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 466
Default Re: Why?

Why not if you love to take pictures ?

"I think that photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still". This is one of the reasons why I love photography. Who cares if a hundred million, people do the same. I think that if you do anything to get other people to appreciate it, forget about it. Do it for yourself and if other people start to notice, then that's just a bonus.

My advice to you is this, start posting photos here on TE, start reading and writting critics and then, I think you will understand "why" we do it. For me, this site has become an important part of my life. Beeing a very amateur photographer, I am learning so much here, and not only about photography, but also about the world and it's beauties. It has also giving me a chance to meet people from all over the world.

So I hope to get to "see" you here soon...

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Old 11-16-2004, 03:12 PM
joseelias joseelias is offline
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 871
Default Re: Why?

Using the TE spirit, if you feel you are teaching someone anything about your corner of the world, than there's agood reason for you to take photos.

You're right. There's hundreds of thousands of photos, many over the same issue, but when you post a photo over a bridge that has been allready shown 10 times, you will still be showing it for the first time to duzens or hundreds of people which had not have seen (or will probably never see) the others.

Also, when you take a photo and add a note you're showing YOUR vision of the world. Some have shown and talked about the technical charachteristics, others about the construction of it or about the daily use, and you may talk about the strolls near it with your girlfriend!

See? It's never the same "bridge". And that's the main thing. Show YOUR vision of the world which is unique. And try to do this in a creative way by showing different angles and details and in the notes that will be togheter with the photos.

I value very much the notes and don't believe a photo is worth for a thousand words... As I say, if a photo would worth a thousand words than the apostols would have written the bible like a comic book... I think this is a sacrilege... ;-)
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Old 11-16-2004, 04:05 PM
verge verge is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 137
Default Re: Why?

well everything have been said but it only point to one word. the PURPOSE, you will continue to enjoy taking pictures if you try to define your purpose. there are a ton of purpose am sure you will never fail to come up with one. you been doing this for 10yrs why stop now? beacuase of a book you've read? why let this stop or change your life or change your view in photography?

since you have a lot of experience why not try to post here in TE am sure your 10yrs will be a good help for newbies like me and you'll never know you might still learn a lot

expecting your posting soon....rgds
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Old 11-16-2004, 05:11 PM
mdchachi mdchachi is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 826
Default Re: Why?

> How do other people deal with this issue, or do you just not think about it?

We don't read these kinds of essays. :)

Well the obvious reason for most of us is because we enjoy it. Some like the creative process, some like the challenge of taking interesting photos. And others simply are taking photos for posterity. I enjoy photography for all of these reasons. I don't feel the need to find deep meaning within myself when I take a photo.

The quantity of photos out there and what other people are doing is not really relevant unless you're competing against others in the marketplace.

> how many people will ever see mine or have the time to appreciate them?!

What matters is whether you appreciate them. Other people should not be your primary motivation. That will lead to dissatisfaction (and whining about lack of recognition/points on your TE photos :)
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Old 11-16-2004, 05:24 PM
clodreno clodreno is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 635
Default Re: Why?

Hi Sean,

Funny you do mention this book.
I read it a long time ago, at least 20 years ago. I don't really remember it clearly now.
At the time, I was working as a financial photographer for banks. I was so shocked by the book that for a long period I "really" stopped altogether shooting for myself.
It lasted a lot, may be 2 years.. I felt like it was stupid to take a picture. I couln't see the point
Then I changed..
Why are painters painting, writers writing?... Sure, they want to show something, but I profoundly believe they first do it for themselves. TWhen you are painting or when you are going out to shoot , you become vulnerable, you become somebody different. And you enjoy it.
If people see your work, Good, if not, just remember the time you had doing it.
I don't think Gauguin was thinking much about people looking at his work or not. For him it was his "life".....
So if you are posting pictures here, I think you'll be happy about sharing a moment of your life with others..
May be, what I am saying is a bit confusing.. But I'll suggest something for you. Just go out and shoot...
And we'll look at those images..
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Old 11-16-2004, 05:57 PM
RandomCameraGuy RandomCameraGuy is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 532
Default Re: Why?

I have to admit that I have asked myself this same question. During 5 month period early this year I did pretty much stop (you can actually see that gap in my TE work if you look at the dates). I think that everyone has (or will) have serious doubts eventually.

But it came down to the fact that I really enjoy the act of photography. I like going out for a couple hours to wander the city or even just my neighbourhood to search for something that would make a nice shot. I like coming back and looking at what I got on my computer. I like doing post-production work. And I like hearing what others think. So hey it's all a plus!

Sure it would be nice to have world-wide fame. But it's also nice to be able to have a hobby that you enjoy, and that allows you to express you creativity, and encourages you to see beauty in the world. I think that last one is the most important. Even "ugly" places have beauty and I've always appreciated this even before my interest in photography, friends walking with me always thought I was crazy! With my pic though, I can try to show others what it is that I see.

There you go. That's my answer to "Why?"

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Old 11-16-2004, 06:17 PM
venne venne is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 536
Default Re: Why?

Hello Sean, I am not an expert in photo, but I am happy to learn with this excellent site and also I am happy to show the progress I have done (maybe) so I agree completely with the message of" CLODRENO" who is explaining better than me because of my poor English (but I try).
We don't see any picture from you,why? Start to post one or several images and after that we shall compare and discuss. This is the best way.
Jean louis.
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