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What is photography to you?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by realeyz, Mar 4, 2005.

  1. What is the purpose of photography for YOU the photographer? Why do you love photography?

    What role does photography play in your life? Who do you imagine viewing your photos when you are taking them? Is it important for many people to view them (ala the web or public gallery) or only personal family and friends? What part of the process do you enjoy the most? The least?

    This is primarily aimed at non-professionals but certainly applies to anyone who spends time taking pictures for personal enjoyment.

    If you would be so kind as to share those reasons I think we can all learn a lot more about each other, I would love to hear individual responses from many different photographers perspectives.
  2. Photography is one of many hobbies; although the most expensive! For me the payoff is the viewers first impression. It is instant feedback, and hopefully, gratification if they react favorably. I enjoy twiddling with new software and techniques which get me closer to that elusive "perfect" picture, but sharing them with family and friends is what really counts.

    I enjoy buying stuff the most! The anticipation of getting another photographic gadget makes me as giddy as a kid at Christmas. Putting the gizmo on my camera, etc. gets me all excited about the new capabilities it offers me (providing I can master it). For example. I'm waiting for my Gretag Macbeth Color Checker. I've never used one and hope it will help me nail white balance, the core of a good exposure.

    What I like least is the moments before a real-time event; when you have only one chance to get it right. I often get flummoxed and forget everything I've learned. I have to work to instill more discipline under these circumstances. That's why I'm pleased to have paparazzi shooters among our crew.

    You know, for all the years I've been lurking and posting at DPR I can't remember anyone asking such a thought provoking question. My compliments!

  3. Thanx for the response Rich - and thanx for sharing your perspective on photography.

    You would probably hate my perspective on WB but here it is anyway - As far as I understand it, WB is this:

    "A subjective adjustment to the colors of light recorded in a photo in order to more closely match the way our brain makes this adjustment in the way we see."

    Knowing this has always lead me to believe there is no way to really "nail" WB as each persons brain would no doubt adjust to that light shift a little differently. I certainly could be wrong. What do you think?

    I am certainly interested in this Gretag Macbeth Color Checker you mentioned - I will research it a bit more.

    Concerning the giddyness you feel when buying a new photo toy - I can certainly relate! I don't think anything I have bought (or possibly will buy) will ellicit more giddyness than the impending arrival of the new big bad "X".

    I mentioned this on another thread, but for me the camera isn't just an optical light recording device - its a vehicle I travel around in when I explore the world. For me the camera is almost like having another sense. I can see things with it that no one else can see. My photography is a very personal thing and my primary reason for it is shear enjoyment of the process. Having people praise the work I do is certainly nice and feels great, but it's not really why I do it.

    If I thought about it long enough I could probably write a book.
  4. Photography to me is an outlet to express cool ideas in a visual format. I just like taking cool pictures when it comes down to it and hauling all the gear is almost like a rite of passage which justifies the coolness of what you do. Being a photographer is cool. :) 

    Photography is also a way to approach girls I meet at clubs and tell them I'm from Maxim magazine...haha, always works to have them pose up! ;) 
  5. PGB


    Jan 25, 2005
    For me it is a way to detach from my work stress. I'm a small business owner, husband, and father to two wonderful boys. Photography has allowed me to become less stressed about my life. I feel so peaceful when photographing wildlife and just being in nature.

    I do enjoy taking pictures of my family and cataloging my childrens lives.

    I take pictures for myself. I don't really care that much if no one else enjoys them but I do like it when they do. This is a learning experience for me and I value people's opinions and creativity.

    I've had many hobbies throughout my life but this one seems to be the safest so far.

    I aspire to be able to "see" the world like Ron Reznick, Yves, Peter Bendhiem, and other great photographers.

    Before I took up photography I didn't see much at all.

  6. I am retired and continue to use photography to express creativity and yes to fill some free time. It gets me out, lets me interact with people and with nature but most of all keeps my mind engaged and active. Besides he who dies with the most toys wins!!
  7. Larry Gleason

    Larry Gleason

    Jan 26, 2005
    I agree, interesting question. I never turned pro and have no intention of turning pro. Others around here (Aiken) may disagree because of the level of my photography. But my status is part of my deal with the gallery and magazine. The first magazine that I was ever published in was from the UK. Big bold letters under the article title: Photos by Professional Photographer Larry Gleason. I still shake my head at that one.

    What role does photography play in your life? Well it is a fact that I am a staff photographer for a fine arts gallery and have my own signature collection. And I was asked to be a staff photographer for a local magazine late last year (nice to have the photo ID badge for wider access even though I have never been turned down for a press pass).

    Who do you imagine viewing your photos when you are taking them? People buy my work from the gallery and plenty of my work has been in ads and articles from brochures to magazines. Upcoming a fancy Heritage Corridor sign as I've mentioned before. I've tried to collect a copy of everthing published but it has gotten out of control to keep up with it. A US Senator and a major league baseball pitcher have a signature work of mine that was commissioned for presentation to them.

    Is it important for many people to view them (ala the web or public gallery)? I keep photos on line for clients to quickly review and I do pick up business from ad agencies and other magazines from there.

    What part of the process do you enjoy the most? I follow the light.

    The least? I don't do weddings.

    The content of this thread by the nature of questions would be a good place for the member introduction section. In a way I'm responding now because I don't remember that section being around for those of us that signed on in the first days of this site.
  8. It is the sheer pleasure

    of capturing that fleeting moment in time and the memory that it will invoke in years to come.

    That may seem a little unusual for a Natural History Photographer, but I can look at a 30 year old image and remember virtually everything about it.
    In my last cheque from OSF I received a payment in respect of an image of a Crab Plover taken in August 1980 on Bird Island in the Seychelles. This payment brought back that day with immense clarity.
    I had trudged through white sand and blazing heat 40C+ to the Sooty Tern Colony on the tip of the island. Photography was almost impossible as the sweat poured off my face and clogged up the view finder. On the way back to my Roundel I snapped the plover eating a crab. 24 years later the memories are as clear as day. THAT IS WHAT THIS WONDERFUL HOBBY DOES FOR ME, plus giving me a sense of achievement.

    BW. Bob F.
  9. tweber


    Feb 12, 2005
    St. Louis
    Here's my take

    I've always been an avid hobbyist. I started a part time business last year to see how it would go (and as an excuse to buy a D2H). The business has changed the role of photography in my life. I most enjoy printing the final results for customers. It's a lot of fun to get that tangible feedback. A close second involves seeing the results right after I get home from a session or event. I also enjoy the challenge of helping people relax in portrait sessions and in capturing the moment at events. I still really enjoy shooting family and friends. It's even more fun in contrast to the pressure inherent in a paid job.

    I must admit I'm hooked by the technology. I just received my D2X and sold my D2H in one day. What a kick to see the results and explore the new features from the D2X.

    I really enjoy learning by observing others' work and reading a bit on technique, composition and processing.

    Well, I forgot the other questions, so that's it for me. ;) 

  10. Photograhy is new to me, and a great learning experience.
  11. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Photography to me ??

    Well that is a longggggg story and will not bore you. I could write pages I guess.

    I guess I just love remember beauty and people I see. Birds, well that is just a huge challenge for me. However I have learned they have personalities.

    I am not a good photographer. Just enjoy what I capture, when it turns out right and expresses what I saw. Some enjoy, some don't. I will try to share in a photos some of what I love to remember.

    When I go to work early, this is what I may see. Have a boatload of them and love each one.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    People and children, unaware just being themselves.

    View attachment 5843

    I share a little of each of your stories.

    Beat Regards
  12. wonderful images Gale....
    your images seems to get better and better each time I see them... mind you maybe my eye sight is just getting better and they were always that gooood.
  13. Flew


    Jan 25, 2005
    I'm not nearly as eloquent in my communications skills as some that have already answered. I'll just say that photography is a hobby that I always expected to try, but had no idea exactly how much I would enjoy it.

    I've taken pictures during my hikes with Janie that take me back instantly to the places that we have enjoyed together. I can usually remember in detail what we were feeling on that day, what we were talking about during the hike, and whether our feet hurt or we were worn out from a hard hike.

    I have learned more about several species of birdies in one year than I thought possible in my lifetime. I have even gotten to the point where I recognize certain individual birds at our local pond. Because of this hobby, I feel closer to Nature that at any point in my (fairly long) life.

    I am not a great photographer, and probably never will be, but when I head out with my backpack filled with my gear, a few empty CF cards, and a couple of fully charged batteries, it is like I am free of all other burdens.

    Lastly, I have met some of the nicest folks that one could ever hope for in this new hobby. I have made some of the closest friends that I have ever had, at a time in my life where friends are so appreciated. I have shared the personal emotions with like minded people from all over this planet.

    With all of this, how can I not revel in the joy of this new passion.


  14. Am I the only one that's confused by those two statements?
  15. Larry Gleason

    Larry Gleason

    Jan 26, 2005
    Naw, ya missed the part where I said that its part of my deal (contract) with them. I still claim to be retired from the coporate world and I rarely miss my coveted naps. I keep the photography enjoyable and work is not a part of it!
  16. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Todd, you are so right here. I see colors very differently than (most of) you. I don't try to 'nail' the colorstaken. but rather use software to analyze and adjust them.

    I too think the perception of color covers a wide range. I test out at the extreme end of the deuteranopy (green deficient 'color blind') scale but there are others who seem to be somewhere in between 'normal' color vision and 'colorblind'. Medically this type of color vision is known as 'deuteranomolous' and 'protanomolous'. There has never been a survey of the general population to determine the relative R. G and B sensitivities of the human eye. The results of such a survey would have a very big impact on the current state of color theory!
  17. "Accurate" white balance is important in certain situations. If you're taking a picture of a piece of art,
    it would be inappropriate to change its colors. That applies to portraiture as well. Your client
    might not be happy if you took liberties with their appearance to make it consistent with your own vision.
  18. Yes but the point of my post was that "accurate" color balance doesn't really exist unless you use something other than the human eye to measure the colors of not only every color in the scene but also the picture in order to match them perfectly - even this won't matter much as each person viewing the photo will perceive it a bit differently. Since our eye/brains lie to us but the camera doesn't it must be adjusted so the camera is lieing as closely as possible to the way our eyes/brains do.

    Am I making sense? If not then just knock me upside the head. :shock:
  19. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Hi Doug,

    Thank You for your kind words.

    Sometimes it easier to show with a photo than words. I used to be an effecient writer, not sure where it went.

    Guess that is why I try to show what I was thinking or doing. That isn't easy either.

    Best Regards
  20. Let's take the leaves on a tree, illuminated by the sun at 3PM. They are a specific shade of green. My
    eyes/brain may see it as blue-green, while yours see it as red-green. But if you have the proper white
    balance on your camera, the result will satisfy each of our senses of reality, even though they differ. Right?
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