Musings on Photography

What do you do with all those photographs?

Posted in art is a verb by Paul Butzi on November 6, 2008

I read on Paul Lester’s blog this morning:

At any rate, it’s getting light about 6:30, here in Summerville, SC, and is already dark by 6:00 in the evening. When you start subtracting commute time, work time, and a small amount of time for walking, that leaves precious little time for photography, save for the weekends! Then, Hobbs demands his time and, well, I’ve got to figure out something!

Sure, I have more than enough photos, but I need more.

This reminds me that I often get asked “So, what do you do with all the photographs you make?” The implication always seems to be that photographs ought to have a purpose, and that if they don’t, you’re engaging in a pastime which is highly suspect and probably ought to be made illegal.

I’m sure there are lots of photographers out there whose photographs do, in fact, have a definite purpose. But I’m not one of them. I’m more like a stamp collector, or a coin collector, or book collector, or a collector of military medals or Hummel figurines. I spend some time playing with the photos I’ve got, but the actual pleasure seems to come from the act of creation, and not the possession.

I hope I always feel like I need more photos.

4 Responses

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  1. JH said, on November 6, 2008 at 11:24 am

    A related question would be: how would you feel if all the photographs you have taken would disappear? Would you feel a crushing sense of loss, or would this be more like a new start?

    (Of course, with digital this may be a theoretical question – provided you have backups locally and on the net.)

    I think I wouldn’t feel that this would be a big loss. There is a big world out there available for photography, as long as that is left, no problem.

  2. Paul said, on November 6, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Paul, that was well said. It is the act of creation for me. The simple thrill of going out and seeing.

    @JH: I think that I would feel a sense of loss for a few moments, then I’d get the camera out and go and make sure more. A couple of years ago, I accidentally deleted about 8 months of blog posts. I simply started over with a post called: A new beginning. 🙂 Same theory. Mind you, I’m careful now to make backups!

  3. Jim Scolman said, on November 7, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    I have often thought that if a picture is not seen then does it exist? I know I take most of my pictures for me and I don’t have lots of my prints hanging around the house. If we feel the satifaction is in the taking not the having then why are we outraged when we are offered $1 or $5 or even asked to donate a shot? Thanks, Jim

  4. Nick Adams said, on November 7, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    This reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend a couple of mo. ago. He was supposed to be taking me to a location with lots of cool graffiti, and run down structures. He was in the process of bailing on me yet again, and I made the argument the world could end tomorrow, and I’ll have missed this location. His retort was that if the world ended tomorrow, then no one would see those shots. I maintain that those photos being viewed is unimportant. The creation of the work is where my love is. If I can make a few extra bucks selling my stuff, then yay for me. But if the world had ended that night, I would have been very upset that I missed out on that location..

    btw… I still havn’t been able to make it over to do that shoot. Sometimes, with friends like this, who needs enemies?

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