Why do you love taking photos?

Started Jun 13, 2011 | Discussions thread
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William9 Contributing Member • Posts: 775
Why do you love taking photos?


I’ve loved photography for the last 40-something years, even studying with a master during the course of a year in my 20’s. In my Canon film days, I was happy if after shooting a roll of 36, I had 1 or 2 that I really wanted to save… because just being out with a camera (in the San Francisco hills or streets, typically) was such a pleasure. I called it my way of meditating.

I started shifting to digital in 2005 (sold my Canon gear), got my first DSLR (A300) in 2008, and now have an A55.

Recently I started asking myself anew, “What it is that I love about taking photos?” It’s not getting shots that I can print and mount: it’s been 15 years since I last made 20”x30” prints or even framed my 8x10s or 16x20s. When I go to family functions, including weddings involving friends, I usually shoot candids and share them with those friends. A few of my shots we use on our business website. Sometimes I post on DPReview. But, in other words, only some of my photos get viewed by others.

The vast majority I view on my computer, and sharing them with my wife – macro close-ups of flowers and birds and spiders, shots of waterfalls, candids taken in the city.

However, while viewing my photos is very satisfying, it is not the deeper answer to why I love taking photos. Yesterday I was at a function of some Hindu friends whose son was having an “upanayanam” ceremony – something analogous to the bar mitzva for Jewish boys and the “confirmation” sacrament for Roman Catholics. Again I took candids, while the official photographer and videographer for the function did their work.

I was really enjoying myself, and then realized something. When I’m in the midst of concentrating on what’s happening, and how to compose and when to click, there’s nothing else going on in my mind. All the thoughts like “Will the Mavericks with the NBA title?” “How will revenues look for the business?” “How is our granddaughter doing?” are quiet. There’s no more busy mind.

I’m in the moment, and that’s all. I’m just practicing artistry the best I know how, using the gear I have available. Appreciating the wonders of nature. Appreciating the beauty of human events. Appreciating being alive even in the midst of the suffering I see around me.

That being-in-the-moment is, in itself, very, very refreshing. So refreshing to my spirit, I can spend hours at it. So refreshing, I even daydream about going out with my camera the next time.

How about you? What do you love about taking photos?


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'Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment. Cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment is intuition.' -- Rumi

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