Why Do We Take Pictures?

“Your photography is a record of your living, for anyone who really sees.”
~ Paul Strand, American photographer, 1890-1976

Sunset on Lake Cayuga, New York

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about why I love taking photos so much. Even though I’m still an amateur with the technical aspects of using the camera, I have a good eye and usually get a great deal of satisfaction from my efforts. The quote above kind of expresses how I feel, but I think my interest in photography is also motivated by my need to show others how I see the world. Throughout my entire life I’ve felt that I see so many things that go unnoticed by most people. That may or may not be true, but it’s my perception, and I like trying to capture those things so I can share them with other people. Whether we use words, photos, or some other form of creative expression, I think it’s human nature to want to share our view of the world with others, don’t you?

A barn in the Finger Lakes area of upstate New York.

I found another quote that really speaks to me, particularly at this time of year when I’m trying to take bird photos through the windows. The amazing Ansel Adams said, “Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.” No wonder I’m struggling to post a good photo every day for Project 365.  Maybe I should have signed up for “Project 12” instead!

Kokeshi doll by Masao Watanabe, one of the best-known Kokeshi artists of Japan

Now if only I could get over my shyness about taking photos in unusual places, like the supermarket or doctor’s office (and those places are full of photo ops, let me tell you). Maybe I need to plan one day a week where I go out around town with my camera and just snap away, to help get myself accustomed to doing it. Yeah, that sounds like fun!

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