WHY WE TAKE PICTURES - DO YOU REALLY KNOW?
Those who know my story know that I picked up my first SLR in 1966. After shooting the third roll of film, I was hooked. At the time, my photography was about capturing the moment; to have a permanent visual reminder of a place or a person. I had just gotten married so most of my people pictures were of my new bride. I recall how excited I was to go to the drug store and open the white envelope containing my pictures. After quickly shuffling through the pictures, I would then going through them again to examine them more closely, trying to figure out why some snapshots worked and why other were not as pleasing.
I'm happy to report, the thrill is still there. However, some things have changed. One change is now I'm doing my self-critique while looking at the digital files on my computer. Secondly, I have come to the conclusion that my motivation for taking pictures has changed over the years. For the past six years, my photography has been about trying to capture images that are worthy of hanging on a wall. Admittedly, some of the initial thrill I got from photography was being affected by the self-imposed pressure I was putting on myself to get the perfect, commercially successful, fine art print.
I have talked with other photographers who confess their motivation for photography has gone through changes. For some, their primary motivation is to see how many "likes" they get for pictures they post to Facebook and Instagram. Some admit they have allowed their definition of success to be based on the approval of others. I remember hearing Bill Fortney, photographer, instructor, workshop leader, and friend, make a strong statement that hit me right between the eyes. To paraphrase Bill, "You will have more fun taking pictures and your images will improve when you're not motivated by the opinions of others."
The Orchid on Green image is a favorite of mine. For me, the softness, the selective focus, and the texture of the background creates in me an emotion of calm and peacefulness. This image reflects how I felt at the time I was creating it, and that feeling returns every time I look at the image. For me, it would be defeating to allow the number of Facebook and Instagram "Likes" to influence my opinion of this image. Bottom line; my renewed motivation is about capturing images that reflect who I am, how I feel, and how I see things.
Don't get me wrong, I will always get tremendous satisfaction from the positive response of others regarding my photography. It's like icing on the cake, and I like cake.