Since my piece on Instagram for Photographers, I've taken the time to consider, why do I actually photograph?
The what is easy.
Golden sunrises out over the ocean. Artistic shallow depth of field portraits. Or postcard scenes from far away lands.
So too is the how.
Checking the weather forecast. Arranging models in the most flattering light. Researching the optimum viewpoints in advance.
But the why has eluded me. Or rather, it's been overlooked.
And that's the most important one. Well, for me anyway.
That's what will keep me getting out of a comfortable warm bed at 4:30am in the middle of winter. That's what will (hopefully) fuel my pursuit of photography for decades to come. And that's what I'll look back on when I'm 80 and reflecting on the life I've lived.
And why I may not have acutely been aware of my Why, I think it's been active behind the scenes, quietly fuelling the passion and directing my artistic approach.
And now, afters some reflection, I've come to understand my Why.
Why do I photograph?
Simply, to create and share value with others.
And while that may come across somewhat pretentious, it's my intention for my work to show otherwise.
To capture dreamy waterfall scenes which bring out feelings of awe at the breathtaking beauty in the world. Or documenting the sights of faraway lands, telling a story which encourages others to get out and experience those scenes for themselves.
Or to capture portraits of others in a new light they may not have previously seen themselves in.
In fact, that's what inspired to travel back home this weekend and offer to take my grandfather's portrait. For as long as I've known him, he's always been a tinkerer at heart. One day he's repairing the car up in his shed. The next, he's taking apart the kitchen cupboard.
He's extremely generous (too much so, perhaps) with his time. Laying tiles, building cupboards or fixing taps for others without a second thought, well into his eighties (he's now 86). And so they were the traits I wished capture for him in his portrait. I hope you like it, Papa.
I also hope my related work, such as this blog, serves a similar purpose. Through which my shared thoughts and tips are valued by you, my readers. So that you leave slightly more informed and inspired than when you arrived.
I believe this approach to my art will help overcome any misguiding wants for more likes, views or followers. The outward nature of the Why will (hopefully) dampen any narcissistic urges, yet allow me to take pride in providing work of value to others.
Here's hoping you continue to join me on this journey. If you feel I've strayed from this mission, call me up on it. And if you gain some value through my work, feel free to let me know I'm on the right track!
And so, that's the mantra behind my art. That's why I photograph.