Why Do We Do It?

In Film, Inspiration, Manifesto

Why do we photograph?20160709-summer16003-2-2

This thought has been spinning around my mind feverishly lately. It frustrates me that I don’t always have a clear answer.

WHY do I photograph?

impulse?

habit?

recognition?

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What if my images never made it out into the world for anyone else to see but me? Would I still continue to lift the viewfinder up to my eye, frame and press the shutter?

color?

light?

pattern?

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Do I see more or do I miss out when I am lugging my camera(s) around with me everywhere?

family?

events?

memories?

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I feel saturated visually these days. There really are so many amazing things to see when we are online, so much talent, so many worlds, and adventures and moments to follow along with. It makes me question myself, my work, and my eye. Does anyone care what I see? Of course, I then go back to another favorite practice, yoga. In yoga we practice because it’s a practice. We are not attached to the outcome, a particular posture or a feeling. We practice because movement brings us to stillness. When I re-frame my art into yoga-isms, I realize I come to photography because it lights me up. I come to photography because I have a story to tell. It’s my own personal story; and sometimes in the case when I am hired by a couple or a family or a business – I have their story to tell. But the way I tell it is completely unique to me. Maybe those photos never leave my hard drive or the film doesn’t make it to the lab (oh man, I don’t even want to tell you how many rolls of 35mm I have sitting on the shelf right now) or maybe I post them the minute I take them on Instagram or Snapchat but I shouldn’t ever feel like (and neither should you) I don’t have a story to tell. When it comes down to the nitty-gritty of it all, and when I get to the truth of the question I asked above, photography is the best way I know how to translate what is happening to me and around me at a given moment. I don’t always have words, but I do have camera. I can take a photo and not even have a clue as to how all the elements of the set up are playing out together, but I really do believe that my sub conscious does know. I wear my heart on my sleeve and in my camera roll…

I guess I am sharing all of this today because I want you all to know that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed with all the photos we see everyday. But to know that your story, it’s important. This practice, it’s practice. (even when the stakes are high, it’s all just PRACTICE).

Keep chasing that light (and I will too),

Vanessa

PS all images in this post were taken using my new favorite camera, the Fuji Instax Mini. I sorta love the imperfections and the learning curve of getting that focus and light figured out (actually, it’s my favorite part- the challenge of it all!). Plus, the tiny little magic that comes out of the camera captivates everyone, including me. The magic of instant film really doesn’t get old.

6 Comments

  1. It happens to me too, I don’t always have the words… My camera tells my story in this complicated conversation we live in. xo

    • And when I go back and look at past work, I see things that I had no idea I was framing- but make SO much sense. Especially when looking at my year of self portraits- so much body language, framing, placement in my environment. It’s an amazing thing to be able to look back and see that year of my life from the outside in. My photography saved me that year, it kept me from drowning in myself, and now I can see all that I couldn’t say… powerful, mysterious.

      xo

    • xo
      I know that I am not alone in this- it’s comforting and not all at once. I hope my post helped others see that it’s okay to not always feel “in it”…

  2. I love this post. Before you mentioned Yoga my head was already spinning in the idea of “it’s a practice” in relationship to art. Ever since I allowed myself to approach my photography in the form of a practice like my yoga or my time in the art studio, I have felt more free to let the photography speak to me rather than making some effort to force a picture to work.
    Instagram can overwhlem at times and I am not a person who feels very driven to share my work at all in that context partly because it does feel like throwing it out to sea… reading this was a good I think it’s more like a message in a bottle at sea and who doesn’t like a peek into all those messages! <3

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