Why photography? I have been asked this and I used to say it was because I couldn’t paint or draw. Well, now that I’ve learned about how to draw, I realize that I can draw. I still don’t like messing with paint, however. It never really works well for me. So now that I realize I can draw, what are my reasons?
First, it was something I enjoyed when I was in high school. Of course, that was when I was shooting 35mm black and white for the school paper and yearbook. I learned how to develop pictures in the darkroom and how to develop film as well. I can honestly say I love not smelling like a chemical spill anymore! But I enjoyed capturing moments and memories. I enjoyed sharing what I captured with others.
Second, I want to indulge my creativity now that I am retired from the Army, and this is what called out to me as my outlet. Photography is derived from the Greek words φωτός (photos) “light” and γραφή (graphé) “drawing” which means Photography means “Drawing with Light.” It’s conveying art literally using light and shadow. I have always found the perceptions we as people create when viewing things to be interesting. I was fascinated by the psychology behind camouflage when I was a Soldier; how breaking up the outlines of a shape and playing with the normal light and dark patterns we use to identify faces, people, and objects could effectively hide things in otherwise plain sight. It taught me a different objective way to view the world around me.
Finally, there is the ability of photography to capture the fleeting and ethereal. Nothing is permanent, everything changes. A photograph can hit the pause button on these moments, these emotions. It can preserve a memory with more fidelity and give it to us a medium that can be shared. It’s about the ability to show how I view the world. It’s being able express things when I have no words. It’s about creating a moment where the artist, subject, and viewer can communicate in a way that transcends spoken/written language and moves the world in an unexpected way.