Thursday, June 16, 2011

What Does YOUR Photography Mean to You?

One of the topics folks would like me to cover in my October creativeLive class is: What does your photography mean to you? For more on the class click here.

In thinking about the class, this previous post came to mind.

• • • • •

Last year I had the pleasure of giving a short lecture at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in NYC. One of my Photoshop heroes, Katrin Eismann, Chair of the Masters in Digital Photography Program, had invited me to share some of my photographs and travel adventures from my books, as well as my philosophy on the all-important business side of photography. To start off my session, as I often do, I asked the students to answer this question: What does your photography mean to you?

Over the past 10 years of teaching workshops and giving seminars, this question has been answered many, many different ways – and actually and honestly has brought some people to tears, as photography means so much to some shooters.
I always hear new “meanings.” I have found that when photographers verbalize their thoughts on the personal meaning of photography, some for the very first time, it gives the individual a unique look inside their photographic soul.

Ask yourself this question. You may be surprised at your answer.

Katrin, a wonderful photographer, as well as The Photoshop Diva, was kind enough to write down key words of the students’ responses.
  • Saved my life
  • Exploring
  • Everything
  • Expression
  • Communicate
  • Frame my world
  • Manage my experiences
  • Telling a story
  • Get out of the house
  • Make my mom proud
  • Speak to different people
  • Influence others
  • Build-up language
  • Understand and feel more connected
  • Convey ideas
  • Look and look again
  • Lifestyle
  • Making Money
  • Play and fun
  • Reveal secrets
Nine of these answers were new to me. Again, I have been doing this for 10 years.
Ask yourself this question – from time to time. You answers may vary, as they have for me.
Another interesting exercise, by the way, is to put captions on your photographs. Doing so helps one see the “meaning” in an image.

Check out SVA. You’ll find many way-cool Undergraduate and Continuing Education programs. One of my favorite pages on the site is the Student Art page.

Explore the Light,


Travis W Forbear said...

I've been shooting for almost 12 years, and my answer in the beginning was money (career), but that left me broke. Now I shoot because I see the world around me as interesting and I want to share it. Now people pay to have a piece of that view. Strange how it all comes together. There is no auto focus for careers, it's full manual. Thanks for sharing Rick. -Travis

dusanmal said...

For me, meddling with it from the age of 8, it is my Artistic expression first. Photography meshed perfectly with artistic sense in my brain, or they molded together over time, or both... I like to tell stories with it sometimes and in general I prefer it documenting the real world rather than "making the picture", but there are always exceptions.
So: Artistic Expression, Telling the story and documenting the real world for me.