What photography is to me
Please join in on this if you like
Whenever I observe myself engaged in something; or avoiding something; I try to check up and discover why that is.
Once, while ago, I was thinking, "Why pursue photography; every truly great picture has been taken already, and anything you could ever hope to do could not possibly improve upon the body of existing images. It would be a complete waste of time."
Yet, in spite of that rather obvious observation, something continued to draw me to it. I took joy in my personal achievements; images that I liked and which made me happy and sometimes joyous; realizing that those same images were nothing in comparison with others that I could dial up on the internet in an instant.
And then I began to look at what my internet friends were doing, and what my handful of real-world friends were doing in photography. I noticed that, like me, they were just taking pleasure in the daily successes they had had, not in comparing their results with some ultimate standard.
Someone posted an image this evening of a very young boy hunched down on a beach with a shovel doing something -- we know now exactly what -- in front of him, and when I saw that, I kind if saw myself in him; me now approaching 65, and with a few thousand dollars worth of gear instead of a trowel. But yet playing in the sand.
And it was then I realized that it is not about the product; the picture in relation to other pictures; it is rather about the process.
Speaking for myself alone, like that tree in the Nevada desert, still recognizable as a tree, I hope; it is about the process of discovery: Learning from others' experiences, sharing ones own as well, making something that one finds beautiful and understanding how that came to be.
And seeing so very often in the work of others, especially here on this forum, examples that are stunning and encourage one to continue on this path and see what happens as a result.
So, as you are probably wondering, "Where in the hell is he going with this?", I will conclude by saying that photography has become for me a personal journey of discovery and also a realization that it is that as well for others.
Now that I know what it is and what it is not, I think I'll be able to be even more effective going forward.
"'There's more to a picture than meets the eye; hey, hey; my my." - Neil Young