Does every image have to hang on a wall?

June 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

A recent conversation regarding one of my images entitled “The Markers” turned in the direction of whether the subject matter was something that people would want to hang on their wall.

The Markers“The Markers”
Canon 5D, 17-40L @ 24mm, f8, 3 seconds

The comment, from another photographer, was followed with a statement along the lines of “Before I take any photo I ask myself if someone else would want to look at it every day”.

That simple comment got me thinking along the lines of perceived beauty verses emotional connections. It also had me thinking about the reasons for choosing to create the images we do.

The image in question was created in an area that I know and love. I grew up in the area and have spent many mornings at this location fishing from these exact rocks. I know this spot intimately and the view is one I cherish from my childhood. With this in mind, it makes sense that I would return to record the scene with camera in hand.

From a commercial standpoint, the comment offered above holds true. Would someone disconnected from the emotional response attributed to knowing the area find the image interesting enough to hang on their wall? Maybe not, and you can be the judge of that right now. There is however, the aspect of the local market that can make an image like this commercially viable.

The commercial aspect aside though. what struck me the most was the different thought processes that go into photography.

Photography is a passion for me and goes well beyond a simple commercial sense. I do not feel that every image we create needs to be created for someone else. There are times and places when our photography should be purely for ourselves. To lose this sense of perspective and shoot solely from a commercial point of view would be to go against  the very reasons I fell in love with photography in the first place.

These emotions are the main reason I regularly choose to undertake personal projects with no consideration for commercial viability. Because at the heart of it there is still a passion for photography and a love of these areas, and to lose these values would be to snuff out the reasons for choosing this medium in the first place. I feel that taking the time to satisfy our own personal emotions as a photographer helps to keep the passion alive, even if it means an image wont hang on someone else’s wall. If that is the upshot of shooting for ourselves, then I, for one, am happy to live with it!



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