Why we pursue photography—things to remember

Every once in a while, regardless of what hobby or profession we pursue, we get in the mood when our occupation seems too trivial, too fruitless—perhaps even a meaningless waste of time. In those moments we should remember what it is exactly that made us take up the subject in the first place, what it brought into our lives, and what has been making us carry on with it thus far. As far as photography goes, I remind myself of the following moments, because each one of them makes my photographic journey worth my while:

  • Remember the photographs that speak to you. One photograph I recall taken seems very banal—to the extent that I think it speaks to me only. It merely shows mountains—just ordinary mountains, nothing special—and, above them, an absolutely gorgeous blue sky with some subtle clouds. I casually called it "My definition of blue sky" and put it on to my refrigerator, where it remains to this day despite the fact that I moved several times since it was taken. Every photographer has pictures of this sort—pictures posted not on our Web sites or refrigerators, but in our minds as windows into infinity.

  • Remember that moment when you called it a day and started packing to leave, when all of a sudden an unexpected beam of sunlight came out of the blue turning a dull scene into a breathtaking landscape? Remember the rush, the racing heartbeat? And then thanking Nikon matrix metering without which the shot would have been impossible due to the time factor?

  • Remember when you shot exactly the same scene over a dozen times as it was so stunning you simply could not stop shooting—afraid that previous shots would not "turn out"? Sounds stupid and irrational? Well, you should have seen that scene!

  • Remember getting up when the sky is still pitch–black, getting to the shooting spot when it is still dark and then watching the day gradually unfold? You might have taken a good photograph—or you might have not. But why is it that just being there still seems so worthwhile and memorable?

  • Remember how precious your camera was when you hiked a long, long way up the mountain and, after getting to the top and looking around, the mere vastness of the scene made you stand there speechless for several minutes? Would you have gotten there in the first place if not for photography? And remember how regretful it was when you did not have your camera with you in a similar situation?

  • Remember that photo of a woman which still makes you utter "Gee..." every time you trace the curves with your eyes?

I am sure that you have your own list. Once you go through it, does not your time—and money—seem well spent? Keep in mind that photography has been helping you to uncover, emphasise and cherish even more precious yet ever so fleeting moments, which, from a certain perspective, constitute the very meaning of our life.