1. To Slow Down.
Photography allows us to capture a stillness in the whirlwind of constant change. It gives us the amazing ability to preserve fleeting moments in an increasingly fast-paced world; moments that would otherwise be forgotten or go unnoticed.
I use photography as a tool to slow down this fast-pace, and to process moments as they come. Instead of rushing through life per usual, a camera in hand guides you to notice things and breathe for a moment. For me this is therapeutic, and leads me to my next reason:
2. To Appreciate.
In my view, photography helps us appreciate every moment of life. It teaches the practitioner to be grateful, humble, and inquisitive about what's right there, waiting to be found. If you take that extra second to observe every-day people, objects, places and light, you’ll be amazed what you’ve been missing, and what has always been right in front of you.
3. To Get Into A State Of Flow
Also known as the zone, flow is a mental state in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. Personally, photography is one way I reach this state. For me, reaching this state is what life is all about. It's a way for me to feel fully present, to immerse myself in the moment, to satisfy my huge need for creative self-expression, to improve and learn new skills, and to produce work that I'm proud of. Photography is a great tool - something I rely on to "fill my cup." If I've lost my balance and need to find it again, knowing I can always grab my camera and go.
4. To Explore "Reality"
A photograph is a fact, but also an opinion. It’s a piece of art, it’s a statement, it’s evidence, it’s a protest, a presentation, a memory, an emotion, the truth, or a different reality. Nowadays with programs like Adobe Photoshop, a photo can become whatever you want it to. The same picture can mean two different things to two similar people. If you spend time with a camera in hand, never mind how much experience you may have, the pictures you take are going to represent how you interpret something, and what you thought was worthy or interesting enough to credit a photo.
Give the same camera to another person, put them in the same place, and he or she will come back with different pictures. To me, it is one of the coolest forms of self-expression out there. Whether it’s a place you’ve never been or your backyard, you can show everyone what you think about it, without having to use words.
5. To Experience Life More Fully
Photographers develop “the eye.” Wherever we are, we can see the potential for a good picture before we even take it. The consequence of this is that we're able to quickly notice beautiful things others may have never seen. As we improve, our definition and interpretation of “beauty” changes. We learn to see light in a new, well, light. We learn to see people and places and everyday objects as the brilliant things of existence they truly are. Our surroundings become a playground because we see the world around us differently. I believe this is true for people involved in any form of visual arts. Photography helps me see more beauty, detail, & light in my every day life (even without the camera). As an idealist with a general optimistic outlook on life, it's quite an appealing benefit!
6. To Preserve & Document
People, places, and nature – the moments they create are never-ending and always changing. Capturing those moments are a way to keep them forever alive, to document how life is for us now, at this moment in time. Photographs are irreplaceable moments of history.
7. Because it is a natural part of being human!
Humans have a natural tendency and desire to show each other interesting, beautiful, strange and surprising things. I believe this is because innately, we want to share with others the emotions looking or experiencing these things causes. After all, when happiness or goodness is shared, it is multiplied! Similarly, when grief or sadness shared, it is reduced. I believe that is why we also share photographs of terrible moments in history, and why they become so famous - to spread awareness, to stay informed, to avoid repeating the mistakes of our past, and to share, and potentially reduce, grief. We have an innate desire to connect with one another and photography helps us do just that!