Would You Still Photograph IF....?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by photomc, Dec 3, 2003.

  1. photomc

    photomc Member

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    OK, Would you still create photographs if you knew no one would ever see your work? In other words do you make photographs for yourself or for everyone else? Know where I stand...wondering how everyone else here at APUG feels.... :whistle:
     
  2. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    yes.. wouldn't be that much of a change :smile:
     
  3. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    Yep. Actually I kind of prefer it that way now....

    Although I DO like getting critiques from fellow APUGers since they are by far the best I have ever gotten. Constructive and useful.
     
  4. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    Most of the time nobody sees my images. I photograph for myself. On occasion someone (friend or family) will see a contact sheet used as a bookmark, hanging to dry, or just in my room and will want a print. Sometimes I do shots for others as gifts (the animal photo gig is really keeping the costs down for Christmas this year). My photography is for me and I enjoy it that way as I don't have any outside pressures and can work at my own leisurely pace.
     
  5. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    That's what I've been doing for most of my life!

    Except a short period as part-time pro, none of my photographs have ever been intended for showing.
     
  6. philldresser

    philldresser Subscriber

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    I 'take' my photographs for my own self gratifacation (is that legal?) but I must admit that there is a certain pleasure in stimulating/touching someone elses emotions, but I don't actively seek it.

    I echo what Robert Kennedy is saying that Critiques on APUG can be rewarding and a 'growing' experience

    Phill
     
  7. Lex Jenkins

    Lex Jenkins Member

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    Probably. Nobody else has seen most of my work. Very few people have seen even a representative sampling of my photos.
     
  8. Thilo Schmid

    Thilo Schmid Member

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    As an amateur photographer I work primarily for myself. Of course I'm happy, if somebody else likes my work, but this isn't my intention. I wouldn't be satisfied, if someone else likes a piece of my work that I don't like. My own taste is what counts for my hobbies. This is totally different in my profession, but that is (fortunately ;-)) not photography.
     
  9. brimc76

    brimc76 Member

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    I shoot mostly for myself so very few people see my work. At times, I do portraits and cover social events for other people and that work is shown, but I would definately still be photographing for myself even if I knew no one else but me would see it.
     
  10. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Member

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    Most certainly.

    I enjoy the creation and process entirely. Simply put. I enjoy the journey of observation, attempting to make a creation (negative) and interpretation (printing).

    Like others, most of my work is private but an occasional compliment from somebody I know is appreciated. More important to me is that a casual observer enjoys my prints than to have a critique from skilled photographers. I am not in this as a competition but rather from the simple pleasure of creating beautiful or perhaps intriguing prints. I like to think that beautiful or interesting prints are easily appreciated by most people and do not require a skilled and trained photographic eye to evaluate the value of such a print. ... Sorta like "the Emperor's new clothes syndrome".

    I have always believed that I do not need to be educated or instructed on what is art and what is not art. I trust my own eyes and and what I like to view. I will leave the exotic art and wild interpretation to those that have a desire to do this.

    Kind Regards,
     
  11. Aurore

    Aurore Member

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    My whole intention is to reach out to people, to express to them the things they would not listen to if in the form of spoken or written word. I want to give people the things they take for granted, or forget, and make them see. I want to wake all those people who are perpetually asleep. I could go on.

    So, I would probably still take photographs, but I would likely not bother trying to make art. And I probably would never have gotten into B&W, old cameras, darkroom, alt. processes, etc.

    It's really quite a depressing thought, nobody to share with!

    :sad:
     
  12. pierre

    pierre Member

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    I make photographs so I can see them sometime in the future. If someone else looks at them, great, but that's not why I do it. My greatest regret is the photos I could have taken in my past but didn't bother to do so. For me, photography is a way to capture the present in some small way before it becomes the past. A secondary reason to photograph is to be able to look at something that I think is beautiful, but that I can't get to see in person.
     
  13. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Yes, I would continue ... without change as to what I do now.

    I really "do" photography for myself. Exhibition, and especially, sharing with others is a very important "extra added attraction"... but not a critical necessity.
     
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  15. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    By a staggering coincidence, I only started with LF, old cameras, alt. processes, advanced darkroom (FB paper and homemade developers) and aspirations to "art" when I stopped doing commercial work. I do it because I love it - which should make me a true amateur :smile:
     
  16. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    Hmmm... Getting kind of close to that at the mo'

    My main audience (and source of encouragement) used to be my Dad, who used to do quite a bit himself a few decades ago. Unfortunately he died last year, and photography simply hasn't been as much fun since.

    I do still take pictures but don't show as many of them around.
     
  17. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Theoretically, I photograph for other people. As a portrait photographer, people come to me to be photographed. They pay me good money for the prints I make for them.

    In reality, I photograph strickly for myself. They are just subsidizing my passion to make portraits. They are providing me with the subject matter. Occasionally, I do my own projects, but more often than not my clients are my only subjects.


    A very enviable position, I know. I'm very lucky.

    Michael McBlane
     
  18. photomc

    photomc Member

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    First, let me Thank everyone for their input...there was a motive behind the question.

    Now to the motive...It is my personal feeling that we take photographs to remember some thing, place, person or event. It has become a part of who and what we are, Thank you pierre.

    Our inspirations come from within and often from a dear family member or close friend (I understand FrankB, Mom passed away in June). Yet, I have a untold pleasure in looking at all the wonderful photos from family vacations and family gatherings. Are they images to share with the world? No, Are they worth as much as a Weston, Adams, etc - Absolutely!

    So, in this day and age of digital (yes I used the D work), I fear that in one or two generations there will be no family photos to be appreciated (the image was lost, the format is no longer in use, etc.). Digital is here, but what those of us that still enjoy the 'analog' form of photography need to do is try to share with the world (or at least our own little part of it) and continue to make the wonderful images I see coming from everyone here.

    If we do not share the beauty we see and capture with our work, in 2,3,4 generations what will they have to hang in there homes, to see at the museums. How will the scholars of the day study what life was like now - becuase now is already gone. One of my favorite things to do is look at old photographs and marvel at how wonderful they are - there is just nothing like a B&W photograph that is 100 years old and still looks like it just out of the final wash..

    Thanks again to everyone for your input and for your work...
     
  19. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    I completely agree. Almost all my photographs are about the value they will have in the future, not about now. My whole philosophy about it is looking at photographs as a way to stop time. For 125 of a second on such and such a day, in such and such a year, this is what this person looked like. They will never be the same again, and here it is. That is why I shoot now exclusively in black and white. It's timeless and priceless. And the older it gets the more intrinsic value it will have.

    That to me is what it is all about.

    Michael McBlane
     
  20. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    True. I also think that we may loose a generation of photos, literature, and discourse to the Digital Monster. I mean in 50 years, what if people don't have things archived well. There will be no equivelant of "the trunk in the attic", and our culture may loose a big part of the past. No more love letters between mom and dad. That was all e-mail it was never saved. :sad:
     
  21. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    I agree too.

    I have a shot of my Dad; technically it's nothing wonderful, a grab shot with on-camera flash (and hence the hard black shadow behind). But it shows my Dad as I remember him; laughing, warm, strong, supportive. All the things I miss most.

    Several people have asked for copies of the print, which I've been only too happy to supply. I hope it will last a long time. I certainly feel safer with it on film than on digital in an ephemeral file format subject to data corruption, accidental deletion, etc. etc.

    It's irreplaceable
     
  22. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    In response to the original question I would say no. To me there would be no point in it for me. That does not mean that a lot of people see my work, but I strive to expose people to it. Through exchanges, gifts, people at my home and my limited commercial work. I see my photography as no different than any other struggling artist such as a writer, actor or other visual artist. I may be no more successful then a thousand fledgling writers sending manuscripts to publishing houses, or actors perpetually going to auditions. I feel that I have something to share that is unique and is at least worthy of being seen and appreciated by others.

    Now I find myself doing more work for money just to share what I enjoy. Building cameras, portraiture, some commercial and documentary work. I don't consider myself a professional photographer, but I get recommendations from time to time, and that leads to also selling the occasional personal piece.

    The other thing producing work for others leads to is creating a lot of relationships with other photographers and people who appreciate what you do. That is why I want to get back into some of the alternative processes.
    I think there is a far greater appreciation for the beauty and uniqueness of Plt/Pd, Ambrotypes, Daguerrotypes, and prints from wet plate collodion. Just another way to share what I love to do.
     
  23. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    To the original question....

    Would I still photograph? Yes. Would it still be as meaningful for me? No, not at all. I like to photograph things that would be completely unseen if they weren't photographed. My images tend to be somewhat metaphorical. I look for power in small moments (and in small people). It's not just that the moment is fleeting; it's that the moment wouldn't have been a moment at all. Does that make any sense? I photograph because I have something important to say, about my subjects and about myself. If no one ever saw those images, I wouldn't have accomplished anything.
     
  24. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    I use to make them for everyone else. Now I just make them for me, but interesting enough, more people like them now.
     
  25. philldresser

    philldresser Subscriber

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    Eric

    I like that

    Phill
     
  26. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    It does make sense to me.

    I will disagree that you wouldn't have accomplished anything. I think that every success that we have, as defined in our own eyes, *must* expand our consciousness and improve - make our conception of our worlds - a little clearer.