Photography obsession - Road to insanity or enlightenment?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Zen, Aug 3, 2006.

  1. Zen

    Zen Member

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    I've often wondered about this myself as I quite happily admit I'm photography obsessed. I think about it most of the time, probably everyday of the week, always thinking about the shots I could get, the things I could try, the places I could go, and just dreaming about being out with the camera being able to make a living from the pictures I could sell. When not thinking about it I'm enjoying actually taking photos and the various things attached to photography.

    So is this a road to insanity thinking about photography too much? Don't get me wrong, I do have many other interests and enjoy practicing them. I just wonder how healthy an obsession can be?

    I often say 'I didn't choose photography, it chose me'. So how do others feel about photography being obsessive, does it take over your life? Your thoughts please...
     
  2. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Ben,

    Yeah, it takes over your life -- but it's better than working for a living.

    I started as an amateur in 1966; first worked professionally in the early-to-mid 70s; and have been a freelance photographer/writer for the last 25 years.

    What is important is to leave space for other things that matter to you too. I've seen too many photographers' marriages break up. Of course I'm lucky: Frances took up photography in self-defence.

    Cheers,

    Roger (www.roagerandfrances.com)
     
  3. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    I often think about photographing, and I'm always looking for opportunities, but I have never had one overwhelming obsession that displaced all other interests. I still think about going hiking, canoeing (sp?), photographing, drawing, caving, reading, going to museums, and all the other things I enjoy. I've always been that way, and I've always wondered how people could have one specific interest that apparently excluded all others, so I can't say if it is a good thing or not. I suppose it all depends on whether you are satisfied with your life or not. If you are happy with the way things are in your life, then I would venture to say that all is well, if not, then you have your answer.

    - Randy
     
  4. Zen

    Zen Member

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    Oh I'd certainly stress that I have numerous interests and enjoy them as well. But it's almost as if photography is unintentionally, subconsciously, there in the background, all the time. :smile:
     
  5. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    It is! Even without a camera i find myself composing, thinking about camera angles, lighting, grain ect..
     
  6. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    Enlightenment, of course.

    <wibble>
     
  7. DBP

    DBP Member

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    "The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom" - William Blake
     
  8. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Not so much enlightenment, more like illumination. Or at least exposure. :tongue:
     
  9. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    I understand more about your question now. When I started photographing I saw the aspects of photography that I understood more easily, and the more I learn about seeing photographicaly, the more I find my vision in general changing. Similar things happened when I was learning about biology, I saw the plants and animals that I had learned about and they made the world a richer place than before. My vision is not exclusively 'photographic', but photography certainly has done it's part in expanding my vision.

    - Randy
     
  10. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Its enlightened insanity.

    PE
     
  11. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    I don't have time to do as much photography as I would like, but I'm still obsessed by it. I'm here at my office on an internet photography forum when I should be working--if that tells you anything. :smile:
     
  12. arigram

    arigram Member

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    Insanity is more fun than pretending to be sane and anyway they do make a straightjacket for LF types, don't they?
     
  13. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    It's not the conventional white, though: more 18 per cent grey...

    Cheers,

    R (www.rogerandfrances.com)
     
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  15. anyte

    anyte Member

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    I don't know if I think about photography so much as I notice what I believe would be great shots every time I'm out and about. I can't seem to go anywhere without noticing dozens of great opportunities, or what could be great opportunities with different lighting (sunrise, sunset, less clouds, more clouds, etc). I then process different angles and such in my head until something else catches my eye or I need to focus on something else.
     
  16. catem

    catem Member

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    Hi Ben :smile:

    I think as long as you know it's an obsession, and especially if you're single then there's no possible harm. 'Obsession' can be a negative word, but try using 'commitment' and it sounds better.

    I don't know about you but I live with three other people, and although I know my obsession is just commitment by another name, I know I sometimes drive them to distraction and I think I do behave a bit selfishly.

    For example today I have the day "off" to do some decorating but I keep sloping off to scan in some negs and

    this is my real worry...I think I'm now obsessed with photography forums. This one anyway - :surprised: :sad:

    Cate
    (p.s. yes, it's me).
     
  17. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Maybe insanity is enlightenment.


    Michael
     
  18. DBP

    DBP Member

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    Roger,

    I see you are posting alot again. I hope this is an indicator of interest and not that Frances is ill again.

    Bruce
     
  19. Scott Peters

    Scott Peters Member

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    It's a tremendous 'stress reliever' allowing me to create. When I am photographing, I am so focused, incredibly so. The stong focus, is frankly relaxing, as it takes my mind off of everyday stress. Just thinking about an image or seeing something that may offer itself up as a great image, takes my mind off of things.

    I wouldn't call it obsession though, it's more like a passion.
     
  20. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Enlightenment is a bitch. When you achieve it, even if for only for brief moments, the "normal" people will declare you insane.

    Photography can be part of the path, as it helps you to see more than just out the front of your head, and maybe be more aware that everything isn't just your experience, reaction, and consideration.

    Insanity and enlightenment are not mutually exclusive, and indeed can seem to go hand in hand from the monkey clan conformist point of view, which, sadly, is prevalent in society today.
     
  21. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Bruce,

    Thank'ee, she's much better. We've just come back from a 2-week shooting trip to Portugal, via the spas at Llo and St. Thomas. She's sleeping a lot to recover but is no longer walking with a stick. As I write she's making a birthday present for a friend using her 1920s treadle Singer sewing machine. So yes, it's part interest, and part just catching up. We did 3872 km (2345 miles) in our 1972 Land Rover in 13 days...

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  22. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    back in my partially mis-spent youth, I did 1300 miles in 3, and then more recently, did 3000+ (from Washington DC to San Francisco) in 3 1/2. 2300 in 13 days sounds positively relaxed! But glad to hear you're doing well after all that driving, and that Frances is up to pedaling her sewing machine again, especially after that much time in a car!
     
  23. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    Having many views on the subject I'll post just a few. Obsessions are not good; They control you. You'll spend time/money on them where it should go to things more important. It can easily get to the stage where there can be pain associated with your decisions. Example: Work all the time and find yourself divorced.

    If your young and have talent and hutzpa, you can channel your obessive nature into a money making venture/career/artistic talent if you so desire. Remember tho that there must be balance or again you can experience pain and suffering in some aspect of life. If you do not apply yourself to something, you'll drift on the ocean of life never accomplishing anything purposeful that serves mankind.

    If you put God first you'll be fine; If you put photography first your screwed.
     
  24. Zen

    Zen Member

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    I know exactly what you mean, at my workplace it's all too easy to flick the screen to the Internet Explorer inbetween serving customers! :D


    Yes, definitely a much better word, but funny you mention 'selfish'. I believe selfishness has a very large part to play in obsession, but don't worry I'm as guilty as the next person for this!


    Ah ha! Thought as much, I knew I recognised that piano keys image! :smile:
     
  25. Zen

    Zen Member

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    An interesting and deep comment here, I do agree balance is extremely important - one has to experience good and bad, the highs and the lows, to appreciate anything to its fullest. But then maybe the obsession is the fuel to pursue and enjoy a hobby or interest like this? And I kind of hope that one day this fuel will enable me to really accomplish something worthwile...
     
  26. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    But don't forget that one mans enlightenment is anothers you're-still-lurking-in-the-shadows'. A healthy obsession is a good way to learn (for me anyway). Keeping it healthy is just a matter of balance.

    Sounds like a good trip Roger. It wasn't a castles and cathedrals trip all in two weeks was it? Wondering did you get to the fishing village Nazaré by any chance?