14 Feb The joy of photographs
Everyone who has a smartphone now is a photographer, and that is most of the population. Faces light up when people take photos of their friends , of people doing crazy things, the unusual, the good, the bad and the ugly. But what happens to these photographs – many end up on facebook, instagram snapchat etc as people love to share their experiences, but most of the images are transitory of no value as a permanent record and will end up way down the photostream to be superceded by the next experiences. Rarely are photographs printed to be handed down for posterity in carefully captioned albums, or even just packets of prints and negatives as returned from the photolab in the old days of film.
I have often analysed why I love to take photographs, and I have concluded that the pleasure for me as a professional photographer comes from seeing, recognising or setting up the moment, creating the perfect composition, using the light, all these elements coming together often in the subconscious to create a great picture when the shutter is pressed. The great joy of digital photography is then the instant playback and the knowledge that the shot is exactly how I saw it.
What happens to that photograph depends on whether it is a commercial commission and then the satisfaction of pleasing the client, and the image has a purpose, or whether it is for my own personal collection. I am as guilty as most people of spending hours taking wonderful photographs which languish in a folder on my hard drive, as the next photo opportunity takes over.
This is so different to the reality of commercial photography where the photographs are efficiently sorted and delivered to the client and it is always exciting to see one’s work in brochures, magazines and on the web. But whatever happens to the photograph, the joy for me of creating a great image remains in the taking, and I can almost always remember that special moment of pressing the shutter for that memorable photograph.