How many times have I asked this question and have never really found a precise answer? I think I have heard it all. And I have probably cycled through some if not most of them. It was getting to be an endless exercise in peeling one layer of profound lie after another.
The question gets asked in part when perceived talent rears its ugly head. That biblical parable comes to mind and suddenly I am feeling either guilty or confused because here I am blessed with a modicum of it but choose to fritter it away thinking that there will always be a tomorrow.
Certain quarters will suggest that I use it for something noble. Teach. Document. Express. Or at the very least make money off it. Whatever. I devote a third of my time pursuing some photographic phantom when I supposedly should be doing something productive with it.
Because if I’m good at something, that I am supposed to share it.
I am almost at that point of abandoning the whole notion of pursuing something noble. It’s probably due to my middle class upbringing along with all the moral baggage and unfair expectations that come with it that I found myself painted into a meaningless, self-imposed corner.
On the flipside of things, there are those that think that we serious amateurs (oooh sounds so snotty, I know, but the next words sound even snottier) go on safari to enjoy our scarf-wearing, leica-toting selves (see?). That we kick back on some lounge chair holding a drink with some China-made umbrella on it after a long day of tooting around the countryside.
While escape might be a good reason for going out to photograph, it still falls short of the mark. If I felt the need to escape on a regular basis, I would’ve probably taken to the bottle. After all, it just takes a couple of Cerveza Negras to lull me to sleep as I am allergic to alcohol… which is a downright pity but I digress.
I’m not sure about why others do it but I think the reason is downright basic and, dare i say, intellectually accessible than most would think.
So why do I photograph?
It is about hope.
The hope of finding something beautiful to witness and photograph the next time I twirl that silly nat geo feeling scarf around my neck. It really is as simple as that… the anticipation that something fantastic will uncover itself for my very own viewing pleasure. Go beyond the honest confines of this simple truth and I risk bastardizing the whole experience by unnecessarily attaching self-indulgent captions to a series of innocent photographs that never begged to be baptized.
Unabashedly, it really is about my next beautiful photograph.
Yeah, I have a very shallow depth of field 😉