Official 'Why I shoot what I do' essay contest - open now, closes Dec 1


Completely Counter-dependent
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Dec 11, 2006
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Please hold all non-essays comments until Dec 1.

There are already 10 members who have committed to write this.
You are welcome to add your essay and photograph, even if you didn't commit before.

I was thinking the other day 'why is it that I like to shoot street photography' and, as I ran through the short list of reasons why anything else bored me, I realized that other people must have their own thoughts and opinions about why they shoot what they do.

So, here are the basic rules.

Submit a short-medium length essay on why you shoot the subjects or niches that you do. How did you get to this choice? Is it rewarding, and in what way? Would you concentrate on any other if you could? What are the downsides?
If you have not yet decided on a specific niche or do not yet have a niche, tell me something about why you do what you do.

Include one of your own photos as an illustration to that essay

Credit will be given for insight and understanding. Short snarky replies such as 'I shoot portraits because people pay me' will get exactly the credit they deserve.

This is not for advanced photographers or beginners, it is the level of thought and understanding that will count.

Contest will run until Dec 1, 2015 and the prize will probably be a book or something available on all continents.

I will be the sole judge - well, just because.

Please hold all non-essays comments until Dec 1.
Please do not see this as a place to post lots of pictures for people to see.

This is about your thoughts, not your output.

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I always love trying new things, especially when it comes to photography. But some of them turn out to not be what I had envisioned while others really hook me. When I first got into photography I thought I would never like portraiture because when I thought of portraits I thought of the chain store photographers or the typical school photographer. You know, the people who put you in front of a boring backdrop and force-pose you. Don’t get me wrong everyone has their own right to photograph how they want. But I like to try and connect with my clients a little, not just rush them in and out like a production line. So portraiture sounded dreadful to me, but I soon realized that it does not have to be like that.

I started dabbling in more of a candid portrait style by following my little girls around and trying to catch them in their most natural essence: free and wild. I got plenty of practice and I still do to this day. Eventually I started doing more formal style portraits for people I knew. I didn’t charge much because I was new plus I liked the idea of helping people that I knew didn’t have the money for expensive photographers. As I worked with one client and then another I started to get a feel for my now favorite niche of portraiture.

I like to do the majority of my shoots outside with ambient or “natural” light as many refer to it. There are so many locations available that a lot of photographers may turn their nose up at. But me, I like the challenge of using a location to my advantage. I usually go for the traditional poses first then some creative shots as we break the ice. But my favorite part of each session are the candid shots that I get along the way. In my opinion a candid shot of a person usually looks more interesting than a forced pose because candid photos show others who we really are. We are not pretending to be anything for the camera, it is just the “real” us.

To me that is a big part of what I think portrait photography should be about; trying to capture real life moments instead of just setting up an elaborate scene. Although I am not against props and scene set-ups at all, they are a lot of fun too. I have been practicing with off camera flash some lately and lighting setups. But one niche I am really wanting to explore more is environmental portraiture because I believe it helps add to the subject’s character and helps to provide the viewer a better insight into them. It tells the story of who this subject is in the picture, and that’s what great photographs do, tell a story.
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hm... I'm apologizing in advance for this not being "short or medium length essay". You could easily disqualify me based on that criteria :)


I've always wanted to be creative but I'm really not talented for anything creative. It's true. Photography provides me tools to be creative, makes "me being creative" much easier, that's why I'm into it.

I don't have a niche and I think I won't be having it in the future. It sounds almost impossible that I could concentrate on just one type of photography. I'd like to try all, I'd like to know all. I can't "master" all of course, and maybe I can't master any, but I'd like to try all to see what the challenges are in that particular type of photography. That's because I'm curious and trying more makes me understand more, not because I want to be good in every type of it (that's also impossible).

On the other hand, I get bored easily... usually as soon as I'm able to do a few decent photographs in one genre I move on... but I stick around for some.

I shoot portraits, boudoir, documentary, a type of photography I still haven't defined, and I shoot places I go to... I shot/used to shoot landscape, product, food... Never tried studio, flash, sport, birds, animals, film (but I'll certainly shoot film, it's just a mater of time)

The best part in photography is that as long as I live I'll have something new to learn.

If I say what I want to say about every niche I shoot/shot it wouldn't be a medium essay for sure (neither this is a medium essay, sorry) so I decided to say a bit more about one niche and a sentence or two about others.

I like shooting portraits the way I see/want to present them. Sometimes it's not necessarily about the person I shoot, but it's about mood I want to capture and I give pointers to the model so he/she could help me achieve what I envisioned. Sometimes, if I find someone interesting, I shoot the person, something I see in her/him.

Telling a real story/ showing a life in one picture. The challenge and the most attractive part of it for me is that you have to figure out composition and use all elements you possibly can in a very short amount of time. The story is already there, you have to find a way to tell it with a photograph.

Shooting places I go to...
The challenging part... how to shoot differently something that has been shot gazillions times before? Some capitals, squares, streets and similar...

Slovenia, Preseren Square in Ljubljana

Type of photography I still haven't defined...
There lies my wish to be more creative. To learn, to practice being creative. To achieve certain mood, to tell certain stories with color and people. The story doesn't exist, I have to come up with a story, and that's the most challenging part.

Boudoir... ( a bit more on boudoir, simply because I started to write about it first and because my personal view on it is a (there's certainly a better word than "complicated" but I don't have a better word right now))

I like human body, I observe/analyze people's bodies all the time and the thing is... no one is perfect. No one! The body is just flash and bones, that's how I look at it. It's a pretty simple fact and yet so many people are trying to be perfect instead to accept their bodies. I'm not saying that you shouldn't take care of your body but I'm saying that the body doesn't make you.

So, that's my starting point with this niche and yet, I'm photographing women and want them to feel beautiful in their body. Rarely, a woman is satisfied with her appearance.

The challenges of boudoir, for me, are:
- how to feature good things on a body and how to hide its imperfections/ how to pose someone
- how to make a fine, sensual, tasteful photograph
- sometimes it's not about a fine/sensual photograph but how to make a photograph that screams "sex" without crossing the line and being completely tasteless and pornographic
- how to show beauty in everyone and how to find that beauty in a sensual way

To some women, who are already satisfied with their appearance, I give a validation (trough the photographs) of what they already think of themselves. When I show them photographs I can instantly see the sparkle in their eyes "Oh yes, that's me! Damn, I look good!" The truth is usually a bit different in my head (viewed trough my eyes as a person and as a photographer). I personally don't find attractive people who think they're attractive just based on their physical appearance and as a photographer it's not that easy to make (most of) them "back off from that duck face, porno look/and poses" they find soo sexy and make them relaxed and pretty in a way that I think someone is pretty... and there lies one challenge more.

Rewarding part is when I photograph someone with low self esteem. First, a lot of work/talk is needed to calm them and assure them that they can do it and nothing "that's not nice" will be showing on a photo... I had a huge confusion in my head for days when, for the first time, I had to shoot an overweight woman that really doesn't see herself as a sexy one. What's her best asset? How I'll pose her? How I'll convince her "Yes, you are sexy, you are attractive, you are pretty" etc. The moment which was truly rewarding? Her surprised grimace when she saw the photos was worthy of all.

I photographed women with huge butt/or no butt at all, with small/beautiful/just hanging there/stretch-marked breasts, great/ugly legs, etc. but no one could tell what isn't nice on them from the pictures I took, not because I photoshoped what's "ugly" and make them look different than they really look but because I pay attention when I pose women.

The point is everyone should feel good in their bodies no matter how they look like and no matter what kind of physical faults they have or they think they have. If I can help them just a bit with my photographs, then why not?
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I see everything different today. My environment is full of color, light, and life. Before I got into photography, I was a painter that progressed from realism into abstraction. My environment was paint, wax, canvas, linen, and wood. Fall colors, flowers, and faces with character did not interest me. I took them for granted. Oil, wax, and pigment was my lens. Brushes, graphite, pallet knives, and sticks were my dials for control. The canvas or substrate was my sensor. The film camera was simply a tool for reference; snapshot something to use as a prop in a painting. It was not until my uncle passed away, witnessing his body of photography work (passion), reality set in. I missed everything that was going on around me. Reviewing all my snapshots, I began seeing the beauty on my screen no matter how bad the composition or focus was. Details, colors, form, tone, and light became revelation.
Photography has changed the way I see the world and how it see's me.


Photography helps me meet amazing and interesting people. The candid photo above is a man of great character and love for life. Unfortunately, you can not see that in this photo, you have to take my word for it. I met him at a charity event and watched how he interacted with kids. I was impressed and had to know him. We instantly became good friends and it was photography that filled an empty hole in my universe. Knowing more today, I would have captured him interacting with kids to celebrate his gift to the viewer.


The lady above was just an angel. She dedicated her life, without pay, to find good, safe homes for orphaned children and single mothers. Photography enhanced my wife's life, they're very close friends today. My wife never would have met her otherwise. Candid photography is now a passion of mine. It can lead me near incredible people, potentially providing significant impact in my life.

Candid photography enables me to capture family history and memories. I love being at family events to capture that important moment in time, a moment that will hopefully be remembered forever through my images. This was never more true than my own experience taking a photo of my sister in-law, who passed away 10 years ago. A year before she died, my father in-law took the family on a cruise to Mexico. I took this candid photo of her, at the pool, unknowingly because she was aggravated by the effects of
chemotherapy. I think i captured that.


For the wife and I, this photo is not just her sister but one of a champion. One year later, she was gone and I am SO thankful to have that one photo. Today I realize that we are not photographers, we are historians!

Thank you for providing me the opportunity to give back. To me, this is about passion. From here on out, I will try to do everything with passion. Whether it is interactions with my friends and family, going to charity events, working, or shooting photos, I do it all with passion. The TPF forum enables me to spread that passion to others. Special thanks to Traveler who encouraged this important, revelation knowledge exercise.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
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Before I start I would like the thank you all for making this happen. I had not given any thought to my motive prior to this and I have found the opportunity to reflect on the question most enlightening. And so we begin.

What you feel when you get a shot you love is still very new to me. You see it's been just 3 weeks since I received my camera. I still pick it up and marvel at how amazing owning a real DSLR is. Oh sure like all good dads I've had $100 point and shoots over the years and accumulated folders stuffed full with snaps of my kids. But we both know that is the equivalent to owning a lawn mower just to whack the tops of the weeds off after the 3rd request to do so. And so we must ask the question: what happens to take a person from just doing a job that needs to be done, to picking up a $1200 high tech machine and hanging out on

For me it was a trip to Atlanta. More specifically, a vintage road race at Road Atlanta in April of this year. It was the first real road race I had ever been to and the first time I had traveled cross country in a car I built. Of course I was so giddy with excitement I just had to share my adventure with friends back home. But how can I possibly capture the sound and intensity of 50 year old Mustangs going all out 30 feet from where I watched?

I had no idea but as I looked around for ways to capture the moment I soon realized how much I enjoyed the effort. And thus it is that my journey began.

Over the course of the summer my little zoom camera became my view to a whole new world. I realized the paradigm shift had occurred as I prepared for an event in August and the camera went in the track box before my helmet did. Clearly the hook was set deep...

I soon found out the shots I loved were not the shots my friends love. My autocross buddies felt catching a Vette killing a cone and picking up a 2 second penalty was the best thing ever.

I love that too but I want so much more than just being at the right place at the right time. My quest is to capture the intensity, emotion and even the smell of what it's like to be there. And oh that I might give you some sense of being out there on the track behind the wheel...

So why do I want to do that? The question revealed itself in September when I went to the SCCA Nationals to take pictures rather than to race. My wife will tell you alien abduction and to be honest I am still sorting it out.

What I do know is I love this new world I see through the lens and the ability to capture that moment in time when something special is happening. It's such a thrill when I feel a connection with a shot and be drawn into the energy of it.

As all journeys go at the very beginning one doesn't know exactly how it will unfold or what detours might be taken. Indeed just last weekend I was out at the lake before sun up to shoot geese and once again my wife checked my forehead for a temperature. Who would have guessed the sunrise could be so glorious or a bunch of slow moving geese could ever merit such an effort...

And so it goes that this is not the end to answering the question of why I shoot what I shoot; just a place to stop for now.
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When I first saw this contest, I debated whether I wanted to join. Life right now is pretty jumbled for me, especially emotionally.

I’ve thought a lot about why I shoot what I shoot, and I knew this was going to be a longer essay.

When I was a kid, I thought I was going to take so many awesome photos being a photographer. That, and I was going to be famous. It’s easy to think this when you’re young and naïve. I had no idea what it meant to actually be a photographer. I had grand plans—envisioned myself on the cover of National Geographic. Well, not a picture of me, but one of my pictures. That picture would probably be of a lion or elephants or a giraffe in front of an orange sunset with a tree off to the side. Isn’t that what photographers did? It’s funny how one completely ignores all of the pitfalls of a particular topic/subject/career when in love with an idea. That was me. I was in love with an idea.

Everyone I showed my pictures to loved them! As a kid, I knew they were saying it to be nice, but as I got older, my pictures did get ‘better’ (that is, better than a kid’s pictures—I had a higher perspective). One problem was that I didn’t like my pictures. I’m pretty harsh on myself; I tend to set a pretty high standard and can be a perfectionist at times. I never like the work I do, despite people telling me I do good work. I’m not talking just photography; it extends into my work life, as well. I am told I do good work, but I always strive to be better. I find myself saying this way too often: “If I had just a bit more time, I could make it better”.

Once, someone asked me why I always try to learn everything about a subject. I never thought about it that way, as it just comes as second nature to me. I want to learn as much as I can, not to be a ‘know-it-all’, but so that I can feel like I truly understand the subject at hand. I love learning and understanding the world around me. I’m not in competition with anyone except myself. While that hurts me because I find it hard to see the good when it is there, it does make me strive to always be better.

Even if I dislike my photos and I feel like I can do better, I thought I could make money being a photographer. Since I’m apparently the person that needs to research everything and learn about everything, my dreams of becoming a full-time photographer quickly dissipated. I realized that I probably wouldn’t even be able to make a few bucks to get new gear. I still hope and dream for this, but I do realize the chance of this happening is slim to none. For now, I have my Canon Rebel XSi, kit lenses, and a broken nifty fifty that only shoots in manual. I’ve started to learn that it’s much more than just my camera. It took me a while to figure this out. I always thought it was the camera that made pictures good, with some luck from the photographer. Wow, I’ve learned a lot since I first started, and I couldn’t love my seemingly dinky camera any more than I do now. It’s a fantastic camera.

So, as I started to really reach at the inner workings of my mind, I’ve realized something. All of the pictures that I’ve taken that I truly like, and are proud of, are ones in which mean something to me. They elicit an emotional response. I finally realize that I take pictures that I want to look at, that make me feel good. If they provoke emotion from others, fantastic! Most of the time, people would be completely justified in saying, “oh look, a stick”. To me, it’s much more than that, or at least it meant much more than that when I took the photo and processed it. I’ll always hold the memories of why I took that particular photo. I hope this will help me grow as person, both emotionally and as a photographer.

Most of my photos won’t be found in a book other than an album I made at home, they probably won’t have over 50 ‘likes’ on social media, and they will never be a part of National Geographic. While saying that out loud before has really hurt me before (re: National Geographic), it is actually okay now. A weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I’m not shooting for anyone but myself, and I couldn’t be happier.

I’ll still strive for that perfect photo, and I’ll still hold on to the dream that one day I could have something published in National Geographic. But for now, I’m happy.

That said, here’s my one photo to sum up why I shoot what I shoot. It’s of a cow standing on the side of the road being partially blocked by a guardrail with a soft pastel sky in the background. That’s what you see. I see something completely different.

For me photography is primarily a means to share a meditative moment. This started with sharing the arrangements of aquatic plants and other materials I had made in fish tanks. The focus and attention to get the various living materials to grow to my vision for the design I had, made the tanks them selves objects of a calming focus of attention for me and I used photography to share the process and the results with various aquarium forums.

Hiking by myself has a similar feel for me, and I enjoy capturing the things that help me slow down and pay attention. Not everything that catches my attention ends up in my camera because not every scene is photo worthy. I may notice a small part of the scene and the rest may be uninteresting, or worse would distract from what I took notice of. The camera is incentive to look closer, at things I might have overlooked and find interesting views from other viewpoints than I usually use. So for me photography is a tool that aids me in seeing the nature around me, but is not the main goal. Sometimes even a camera is to much distraction and I just go for a walk to just be and see things.

I do dabble in other uses for a camera, such as taking snapshots at family and other gatherings, capturing man made scenes, and a bit of photographic humor at times. Those are things I do because I know others will like them. Sometimes a photo serves both reasons, but my primary motivation is capturing an element of the self quieting moment in nature.
I've never had a real reason why I love photography other than I just love taking pictures. I know it sounds simple, because it is.

When I take pictures of things, like something I bought to use, like headphones, a welding machine, tools, etc; and I show those pictures to other people is because I'm on a forum asking for help. And I have crappy cell phone pictures. That's how I'm here now. Because of exactly that.

When I shoot for myself, it's for keepsakes. Something I liked that I want to save to remember later. Or print to add to my scrapbook.

Here are a few of my pictures. I am a novice. I just love taking pictures.

Note: All these are non-edited photos.




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I'm afraid my essay, isn't much of an essay at all, but mostly a compilation of life events that over time, coaxed me into admitting that my heart lies in portrait photography. These are but a few of those memories...

I can still remember every sound, and every smell that resonated on the 10th floor of that high-rise, down-town building. We visited every day that week. Friends took us girls (I was 8, and my sisters 10 and 14) up and down the elevator to occupy our time. There was complimentary hot chocolate, to pair with the annual October blizzard seen peeking in the windows. And so many friends waiting in silence. Though I never have been able to recall the exact words spoken by the doctor, I can still feel my heart sink the same way when I think about that moment-I burst into a flood of tears that didn't wane for days...
...The events that followed are mostly a blur to my memory except one. The obituary had been drafted and it was time to select a portrait of my father to include in the paper. Regretfully, it had been realized that his most recent picture- a snapshot of him knocking out a wall in the kitchen- was a few years old. Worse, our family portrait was even older. It was finally settled that we would include his formal portrait which was taken about 5 years prior to his death. The moment my father passed away, his photographs became the most precious thing that I could ever hold in my young hands- and there were so few.

Born from that juncture, was my passion to capture the life of my family and friends. For many years my tool of the trade was a series of disposable cameras, finally a point and shoot film camera and then perhaps through fate, I was accepted as the only freshman allowed entrance to the photography program at my high school, which was filled with mostly junior's and senior's. With my SLR and film in hand, the darkroom quickly became my sanctuary. Often times I was the only one in there. A beautiful, quiet retreat away from the world where I could take a blank sheet of paper and watch a picture appear out of nowhere. My own kind of adolescent magic. Of coarse, requirements of the class dictated that I shoot many subjects and I dabbled in still life's, light painting, and advertisements. To this day, I realize my favorite images from that time are of my friends.

Fast-forward my life a few years and you would find me, 20 years old, recently married and on the cusp of delivering our first child. My husband, was over 7,000 miles away on a military deployment. Had it not been for the photographs taken he would have missed out completely, on not only our sons entrance into this world but on his first 11 months of life and so many other "firsts." With a third deployment, another year would have been lost to him had it not been for the portraits I was able to send from home.

April 2015 brought another devastation to my family, when we unexpectedly lost my mother in law. It was my task to arrange a slide show of her life's pictures to display in remembrance at her memorial. We gathered all the photographs we could and asked her large family to send what they had. It was bitter-sweet to find over three quarters of those memories were taken by my hand. The most recent captured on her birthday, the end of December 2014.

So the question posed is, why does my passion thrive in portraits? Simply put, there will always be another gorgeous sunset. There will always be another incredibly detailed flower in bloom. There will always be another drop of water, another insect, anther bird. Individuals however, are like no other and the memories captured in a photograph of a loved one can live on for generations. They can reveal that a young man bears his great grandfathers eyes, or that a little girl was blessed with her grandmothers structure. They enable friends and family miles away to "live in a moment" that they weren't blessed to witness, and they provide a history that cant be replicated through any other media. Portraits have the extraordinary ability to connect us as humans through both time and space. Like a moth to the flame- I am drawn to that connection.

All off these small moments in my life, fuel my passion and my belief that portraits are irreplaceable treasures, and one of the greatest gifts that I can share with the world. But having something worth sharing with the world requires much more than mere passion. Great effort must be placed in attempting to perfect the trade and this has challenged me in ways I wouldn't have expected. For instance, I'm slowly learning the art form that is posing the human body. Not just in sight, but also words. I see in my mind exactly how I'd like someone to move, but conveying that message clearly to my subjects is apparently an art in itself. Often times I wish I could just model them like clay into my desired position, though something tells me this would be quite unprofessional. Another obstacle I am working over is encouraging people to take me seriously as an artist. I have in the past, always taken the stance that I would not charge for my work. Recently though, I have made the connection that people put more intention into the sessions when there is a monetary investment involved. Accepting payment, requires the start of a business, and Starting up a portrait company includes its own series of hurdles that are beyond the scope of this essay. Needless to say though, those challenges associated with running a business will only multiply as this journey continues. My biggest quandary I've come to realize, has followed me through childhood. I am not by nature, a “people person” and I nearly always feel awkward being the center of attention. Organizing a group of individuals requires all eyes on me. Although I have learned how to execute that position quite well, the effort required to step out of my comfort zone is physically exhausting. A few hours of shooting leads to another day of much needed solitude. Despite all the blocks I face, I still couldn't imagine a life where I wasn't behind a camera. Any negative energy that I have to puzzle my way through, is far surpassed by the cathartic feeling the comes when I thumb through past photographs.

As I write this I realize, my journey into photography has lasted much longer than the time I ever knew my father, Longer than I was blessed to know my mother in law, and longer than any friendships I have been linked to. Though I can't be certain where my journey will take me next, I know The photographs I've taken will remain a constant reminder of the precious stops along the way. It is my hope, that I can help others build their own visual legacy and that my photographs may eventually evoke the same emotions from them that they bring out in me. I suppose, only time will tell.

Grandma & Grandson
December 2014
Though he may not remember his grandmother when he grows up, he will know how much she loved him.
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When I first began in photography I experimented with several different things. At first I thought I wanted to shoot landscapes, but quickly discovered I always seemed to single out a lone tree rather than the entire landscape. I also didn’t travel, so landscape photography grew boring very quickly. In the early 1980’s I decided that child portraiture would be fun, but I found it was not fun at all and so I shifted my vision to pet portraiture and doing show books for clients. After a few years though, I found this was not fulfilling enough for me and realized I needed to photograph something with which I could be more creative and artistic.

I have always been a person who followed the beat of a different drummer and my niche choice in photography is no different. As someone with a formal background in art, I’m drawn to colors and shapes, the abstract in life. ICM [intentional camera movement] photography enables me to photograph the lines, colors and patterns in nature in an abstract way. My choice to do ICM photography has turned out to be very enjoyable for me, it’s about being different, thinking outside the box; it’s about personal expression. ICM allows me to create a painting of a scene, or of a flower, not just mimic another angel soft waterfall, landscape or bird. An ICM image is always unique to the photographer who takes it, because no two images can ever be exactly the same.

Despite what some people think, ICM photography isn’t accomplished by just waving a camera wildly about in every direction; it takes time and skill to learn just which scene is likely to be suitable, how fast a movement is needed with a specific shutter speed, which direction the camera will best be moved in and if the light is subdued enough for it to even work in the first place.

I don’t shoot ICM images exclusively, but it is what I love to do and what I do most often. The other things I shoot are also artistically generated – soft focus, floral and classic still life; you know - those boring bowls of fruit. To add to my outside the box thinking, most but not all, of my images are done as square crops. I tend to see things in a square crop when I shoot them; to me it just feels more uniform

The downside to shooting ICM, is that many people don’t like this genre, I think in part because they don’t have the artistic vision to truly understand it. They can’t look at an ICM photo and see anything beyond, to them, a possible mistake, a strange photo or its being just about the technique used to create the photo; they don’t see the subtle nuances within the blur, they can’t see the painting within the photo.


I don't have a niche, so please excuse my generic response.

Photography, for me, isn't an interesting hobby in itself, boring even! That is until you complement the equation with another one of my hobbies. Over the years I've realized that it is not photography that I love, rather the ability to capture what I love, the ability to retain the best experiences of my life and the opportunity to express the emotions that a single frame may capture is what I find so compelling about photography.

I may not be the greatest photographer ever, but I'd happily spend a week trekking up to a particular mountain range or down a particular waterfall to get that unique shot, only because of my love for natural wonders. I would happily roam around a zoo for 7-8 hours without getting tired, photographing the creatures, capturing my own perspective of them; not because I love photography but because I love those creatures. Photography in itself isn't something I'm crazy about, it's just a (very expensive) means to an end. It's the ability to capture and share my experiences with the world and to reminisce over the memories for years to come is what I find priceless.

But is it rewarding? You bet it is! I've met some fascinating people from around the world, from renowned zoologists, talented photographers, famous musicians and crazy travelers - to run of the mill down-to-earth people with fascinating stories to share; adventures have been plentiful since I've picked up the camera.
It's not all unicorns and rainbows, I've seen genuine hatred, pointless riots, bullying and racism everywhere I've traveled. But for every such incident, I've come across numerous acts of kindness with no ulterior motives, often surpassing any national boundaries. As clichéd as it sounds, photography has changed the way I look at the world.

I guess I don't have a niche because I don't think I'm good enough in any of them. Going forward, I have plans in place to become an underwater photographer, and having already completed the basic certifications in Scuba diving, am well on my way to it. Whether I am able to pursue the dreams completely remains to be seen, but if I could have a niche, that's what I would like to concentrate on eventually.

As for the downsides, I guess the biggest downsides for me are the possibilities that photography has opened up for me. Clearly, giving up on my steady job in IT to become an underwater photographer would sound like crazy-talk to most, as it does to most of my friends. Maybe I'll change my mind halfway there or maybe I'll do it as a part time hobby, but as long as I can dream, might as well make a run for it.

Whether I've answered the question I set out to answer, I know not. All I can say is,
I love photography because it's the only medium I'm aware of that can capture experiences and unadulterated emotions so accurately, both mine and that of my subject's.
The possibility to reminisce about the best of the moments that you've lived, what else can one ask for?

Ooh, this is a good thread. Really interesting to read everyone's takes on why they shoot what they do. For me, I started off just taking photos because I enjoyed it. It evolved from that into a passion. I started shooting macro as well as landscapes because I love seeing the intricacies that nature brings to the landscape - it's about seeing the beauty in the most mundane objects. I also love to shoot waterscapes and landscapes for the same reasons as Achaicus. It's also an incentive to me to get out into the fresh air, get moving and look around. Even if I'm just taking my camera into town, and not out into nature, I can still find areas of beauty, sometimes fleeting, but with my camera, I can preserve those fleeting moments.




The_Traveler has asked me to edit this and add in more detail about what photography means to me, but as I explained in a message to him, I feel I have given my explaination above. There is another reason I fell in love with photography, but that is a very personal reason and I do not feel comfortable with sharing that on an open forum. So therefore my answer stands as above. He said that this was not a chance to show off my pictures, and I want to clear this up - I posted the images above to give people an idea of what I was talking about when I talk about the intricacies of nature and fleeting moments, and the beauty in the mundane.
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I definitely enjoyed reading everyone's responses. Thanks for starting this, @The_Traveler! :smile:

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