The nature of photography

The Knowledge Network showed a documentary about photographers tonight. I watched it with some interest, as I was familiar with some of the photographers (such as Araki). A common theme among the featured photographers was their connection with photography or what photography enables for them. It got me thinking about my connection with photography and what it enables for me.

Like anything I’ve only started to ponder, I don’t have any good answers. The subjects of my photography aren’t necessarily near and dear to me. I love birds, but they aren’t exactly my family. Industrial equipment, architecture, and industrial landscape don’t play large roles in my life. Indeed, I don’t spend any time around these things unless I’m photographing them. While several of the photographers featured were laying some aspect of themselves bare, there’s not much that can be told about me by looking at my pictures. My photography doesn’t necessarily show anything unique about my subject, either — there are thousands of photographers who can tell a story with a picture that I can’t even put in words.

So why do I do it? I think it’s a way of exploring a subject I’m curious about. Araki touched on the link between photography and memories, and mentioned that he doesn’t photograph the things he doesn’t want to remember. Perhaps it’s a way I obtain, organise, and keep information. That certainly seems like it fits well with the non-photography parts of me.

On a completely unrelated note, I just saw an ad for a nature show that used the song I Disappear by the Faint. Just when I thought I’d seen it all.


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