Photography: do it for love

As photographers, we are simultaneously observers and creators. Before lifting a camera up to the eye, we already view the world through a lens of our own thoughts, feelings and preconceptions.

We do not merely capture what is in front us. We choose what to photograph. That perspective is what makes each of us unique.

But in a world with so many people taking so many photos, every single moment of every day, it seems like no art is truly original. How can we truly distinguish ourselves from the rest?

In the post How To Be Happy In Today’s Crazy World, the author of the blog Bakadesuyo writes:

The lesson from the research is clear: the more extrinsically motivated you are, the more you feel motivated by money or status, the more depressed and anxious you are.

So what should we do? Yeah, we all have to pay the bills and achieving a decent level of status is a good thing, but we need to start choosing more activities that serve those intrinsic values.

Spending more time with those we love rather than those who can help us get ahead. More time playing the guitar because it’s fun rather than sharpening our Excel skills to get that promotion.

In other words, don’t do it for the likes, recognition, fame or glory. Do it for love.

We can write with light, recording our memories in a journal of pictures, remembering our loved ones, our experiences, and our favorite moments in time.

Just because countless before us have fallen in love doesn’t make our own experience of love any less breathtaking. Likewise, we can stand before the same majestic scene a multitude of others have already captured, and it’s still meaningful when we take a photo of that moment for ourselves.

When we hiked up to get a photograph of Delicate Arch, the afternoon was cold, gloomy and windy.

He caught a brief glimpse of the sun before it retreated back into the clouds for a long while.

We waited for sunset, hoping that the sun would peek out again from behind the clouds.

At the last moment, a few minutes before the sun would set behind the horizon, the last rays of daylight shone onto the arch, bathing the rock in shades of brilliant orange and red.

I was sitting on the other side of Delicate Arch as the sun broke through the clouds. It was an awe-inspiring view, and even as I knew that it was a shot that many others have taken before, I took a few of my own.

We don’t have to be original to be happy. There were many other photographers around us that day who probably captured images similar to ours, but that did not make our photos feel any less special to us. That evening, as the sun fell below the horizon, we walked back to the car hand-in-hand, feeling incredibly lucky and excited that we managed to get those last few minutes of beautiful light before the sunset.