Why Make Photos
Recently someone close to me asked me,"Why even make photographs anymore?". He was asking what I was going to do for work this winter as my summertime gig recently ended for the season. After working 7 days a week for 6 month I wasn't to eager to jump right in to the next thing. I've begun doing pyschedelic pet portraits that has started out surprisingly well and have decided to focus on that for a bit. It really got me thinking to say the least as I sat and pondered the question. I kept coming back to the question and couldn't let it go. Something I do more than I like to admit His reasoning had been that everyone has a camera in their pocket at all times now and he had thousands of photographs that he wouldn't even be able to look at. Indeed why do I feel compelled to make photos, or put them up for sale on this site? Billions of photos are made and uploaded to Google each day, what can it possible matter? I certainly can't speak for everyone but a quick scroll through the GRAM seems to reinforce his line of thought. I get numb to all the visual content that I see in just a matter for minutes. Why indeed?
Friday, the day after the question was posed to me, I dropped the kids off at school (our bus system is sorely lacking on drivers again, where did everyone go?!) and headed up north of my house to look for animals, a scene, something to jump out at me to photograph. Fist animals I saw was a pair of Bald Eagles heading south along the Blue River. I sat and watched them as they soared on the thermals for 15 minutes or so but they were too far out to get a shot. Then the horses that I see in the winter were close to the road and looking a bit feisty so I pulled over. I watched as they wrestled and sparred while waiting for their breakfast. I was able to make some shots I thought would be good as they bit and pawed at each other, seemingly in play but being dominant/submissive herd animals I know there was more to it. That got the photographic juices flowing. I then decided to drive to a high alpine lake whose road was still open for the next few weeks before being closed for the winter season. With the wind picking up as a storm front moved in and frigid temps, I was the only one there. Oh yeah! I made few short video clips and a handful of photos in the hour or so I was there and really enjoyed the peace and quiet. Afterwards as I drove home I detoured around the lake and ran into some cowboys wrangling up a wayward cow who had escaped being moved from summer pasture to one of the waiting semis rigged to haul cattle to market, or their winter pasture. Although I didn't get any good shots I enjoyed to show. They eventually got the cow going in the right direction and headed where they could get rope on him. On the way home I looked for scenes to photograph but was preoccupied with the days news on the radio concerning the election and various other inane goings on around the world. Which brings me back around to why I make photographs.
I don't really knowwhy I feel compelled to make photos! But when I do get out consistently and attempt to put down in 1's and 0's on a memory card the way in which I view some of the things I see it makes me feel good, or mostly good anyway. Why does it make me feel good? I'm not exactly sure, and I'm not really sure I even care all that much. I do know that it creates inside of me a sense of appreciation for the scenes I'm able to experience. I decided quite a while ago to focus on things that move me, like beauty, and I've learned over the years that I can easily go down that path of desperation and despair and get caught up in the bad news stations portrayal of all that is wrong with the world. Maybe that's enough. It certainly seem like enough most of the time, until someone asks me why I do it in the first place and I get all in my head about it. I mean why do we do anything at all really? Mostly of our time is spent making money so we can afford the life we chose to live. But man there's got to be more to it than that. I'm not interested in living to acquire stuff for some kind of social score. Probably why I made the trip to Colorado in the first place instead of continuing with school at Michigan State. It just wasn't doing it for me. As cliche as it sounds, choosing to appreciate the beauty that I get to experience on an almost daily basis and attempting to put that into some form of expression, photographcially and videographically, seems to be worthwhile to me. The only reason I decided to even share it with others is because of promptings by friends and family. Others, not everyone mind you, have commented that they get some enjoyment from it too, so there it is. Not a complete answer to that question but an answer non the less. And on that note the daylight is fading and the light is looking good, I'm heading out to see what there is to see. Look around.