27 January 2012

Taking pictures

Who do I really take pictures for?

When that thought crossed my mind, it was because I was taking photos of things that are not "print worthy". I mean, why was I taking photographs if I didn't hope to see them hanging on a wall someday? Of course I take photos of things because I want people to hang them on their wall to enjoy. However, I also take them for my students. And my family. And my friends. I take photos of things for other people- usually not myself. I take photos because I want to share what I see with people who may never get the chance to see it. It's kind of like the idea of my photojournalism project... I want to photograph schools so kids can see what schools are like in other countries because they'll probably never get the chance to see them (because, who really goes to see schools when they're traveling? If you can think of someone, please do tell me because I'd like to talk to them!). I take pictures of food and people and details for other people. I have been there. I know what the people, the food, doors, sidewalks, etc look like... so why do I photograph them? For others- that's the answer.

This is something I had been wanting to write about but of course I never got around to it (like the post on France. Hey, the photos are done and most of them are on facebook. Check them out if you want). Today I came across this article and it made me glad I haven't written it yet. And here's why. The photographer whom this article is about talks about his "rebirth" in Venice, California. He is one of those lucky and incredibly talented people who got a start at a young age and has had much success in his life with photography. With an overloaded schedule of commercial shoots, he felt like something was missing. Then he thought of a quote by Helmut Newton:

You should be able to walk out your door and find a picture within two or three miles.

Mr. Alston jokingly added, "Of course, he always picked these great places like Monte Carlo, so he could say that.”

Well, I chose Moldova. It is definitely not Monte Carlo or Venice... and I can definitely gind a good picture within two or three miles. But this is beside the point of what I'm wanting to say. Later down in the article he says:

If you can find joy in walking down the street, and you see a leaf, it makes you happy and you photograph it, that’s a beautiful thing.

Mr. Alston is right. Sure, I take photographs of things I wouldn't normally photograph for my personal use because I have other people in mind. In fact, I would venture to guess that 90% of the images I make are for that reason. Photography, though, makes me happy. Using Alston's example, I can take a picture of a leaf when walking down the street. I may never, ever show anyone else that photo or I may never even look at it again. However, for that split second, hearing the "click" of my shutter close made me happy. And that, my friends, is why I take pictures. It makes me happy.

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