Why Photography?

On a recent family trip, I was asked by my 14yo niece, Sophie, why I love taking pictures..  While I don’t think she quite “got” my answer, as is kind of typical for a 14yo entering that stage of “knowing-it-all-and-adults-are-kinda-dumb” stage, it seemed like a good post topic.  Most photographers probably feel much the same way, I suspect.  

She also asked how I got started in photography, and if I’ve always loved it.  I laughed as I told her how much I used to HATE photography, when I was a kid and had to wait forever for my dad to take bracketed shots with his old Minolta film camera all over Europe.  But like a lot of boys, probably, I got interested in it because I was trying to impress a pretty girl, who happened to like photography.  

Photography is About Those Special Moments in Time

First and foremost, at least for me, photography is about capturing those special moments in time, whether it be silly, joyful, solemn, sad, insightful, or whatever.  Especially with my wife and 2 daughters, as much as I know they sometimes get irritated with me always lugging my camera around, I love having these photos to look back on down the road, and hopefully they will appreciate it, too – especially when my daughters get married one day and I have lots of great photos to show at the reception!  But they’ll be able to show their kids, and grandkids, etc……and I love the digital and online world now that allows us to share photos with family so easily.  No longer will our descendents have to scrounge through old boxes in the attic to suddenly come upon photos of Grandpa, Grandma, and the relatives.


 Photography is about Light, Color, and Shape

Next, I love the way photography lets me see light and color so beautifully!  Our world is such an amazingly beautiful one, if we only take the time to see, and if we look at light, color, and shape……oh what we’ll see!  

Photography is about Lo0king At the World Around Us and SEEING!

 Ultimately, what I love about photography, as I told my niece, is that because I’m always looking for photos, I see the world around me, and I see it in ways that others don’t.  And that’s also why I love seeing the work of so many other photographers, whether on Google+, Facebook, SmugMug, Flickr, or wherever, because they show me how THEY see the world.  I’ve followed many top photographers on G+ especially, and I am constantly amazed at the work they present.  The vision, creativity, the expression, the sheer BEAUTY of it all is overwhelming and amazing and stunning. 

Do you love photography?  If so, why?  Share some of your favorite photographers!




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  • HI Charles, when I opened up to the small pic the only thing my eye went too was the absolutly beautiful merger of the forground to the sky , I did not even see the tree stump. then I enlarged it and voila , exact same thing . I had to roam around looking for the tree trunk. just my eyes maybe. this a gorgeous not sure the foreground a enhances it. personally I think without the trunk and leaves and stuff on it the composition stands by itself. my opinion only. other probably will differ. I would buy that pic if my wife let me:-) hope that is constructive but more important I love the pic steve

  • Photography allows me to escape my everyday world and allows me to ponder about the past, the present and the future of where I am at that particular moment in time.

    I recently went on a trip to Bodie, a ghost town in the Eastern Sierra, where time has stood still. People just decided to leave this place and left most of their belongings there. This town was left un-restored…It is preserved exactly the way it was back then. You can actually see how the people lived during this gold rush era. There were no cell phones, no computers, no air conditioners. There was no shower and the toilet was outside in the back of the house. The environment was harsh and survival was the focus. They lived day to day.

    Photography is the same way. It preserves that moment in time so that you can look back and relive the past. You can compare the pictures to the present moment and look towards the future. There was a magazine that I truly loved called “LIFE” that had “amazing moments in time”. It is a powerful medium.

    Photography can also be used as way to express yourself. Your photography represents who you are and what you want to say. You can see what other people are all about through their photos.

    Photography is essentially = COMMUNICATION!!!!

    I could go on and on and on and WRITE about photography…but I’d rather take a PICTURE and show you.

    • Bernie
      did you get a chance to shoot at mono lake? If so did you happen to finds my younger daughters (34 now) left shoe. she lost ii in the mud of one of the tufu’s , I also lost one of my tripod legs rubber supports there. please send em to me:-)
      BTW both U and Charles speak elegantly about your passion.

    • Charles Payet

      Wow, Bernie, that’s awesome! Love the depth of your reply, and I so agree with you. In fact, I might even have to edit the post and include that……nah. You did such a great job, I don’t need to! 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

  • I stumbled on this post via’s Bernie’s FB post… Photography is my creative discipline. I love the challenge of capturing interest in the mundane and attempting to capture what my brain sees. Another thing I love is that there is always something to learn!

    • Charles Payet

      Doug, thank you so much for sharing; I love hearing all the different reasons people love photography.

  • What I love about photography… in a short essay… not gonna be easy to do.
    I guess most of all, its something to do while I’m waiting for something better to do. The grandeur of a well composed image, the way light dances against a corner, the skin, a rock cliff, or water, or the muted tones of low light and shadows enveloping a familiar subject, or the explosive colors that dazzle the eye upon a sunrise or sunset. All of that wrapped up in capturing those moments of fleeting light, in order to pass the time until something better comes along. I believe that something holds vista we’ve never even imagined, and I can’t wait! Until then, I’ll just keep shooting… and looking at what others shoot.

    Secondly, I love photography because it allows me into the head and behind the eye of other people, to “see” what they “see” and to share that moment of – what – a solidarity of consciousness or something. The images Chip has posted here are stunning and I would never know the world he sees, unless he shared his vision with us. That’s really cool for one photog to get to look at another photog from that perspective.

    I guess thirdly – my love for photography came from my dad, who I miss a lot. He stuck a 120 camera in my hand when i was 5 and a 35mm came before 5th grade – along with a wet darkroom and rolls and rolls of color movie film we bought in bulk, loaded our own cans, then shot and processed in black and white. All that led to friends in my misspent youth who also had cameras… and grew up to be freelance award winning photographers in their own right. In other words, I’ve been blessed with a father who cared enough to keep me interested in things as a kid, and wonderful friends who inspired me to at least try to attain to their level of expertise. In the long run, that’s what matters most. The friendships I’ve formed over these many years – only through photography. Look for Paul Bowen at AirtoAir.com – an old friend from 40 years ago and now today, as his wife just emailed to say he is being honored by induction into the Air & Space Hall of Fame – for his photography! Or my friends Jim WIlson, Joe McNally, Moose Peterson, Jo Hunter, Steve Jones, and Chris Buff to name a few – then there is Tyson Rininger, and Jan-Arie van der Linden, Bonnie Kratz and Irene McCullagh or even Jeremy Boyd over on Zenfolio. All cool cats – all great shooters.

    Lastly – the spontaneity of photography. Like today – i had the 300 ƒ2.8 with me and I happened to see some weeds in the sunlight behind some railroad tracks. So I got the camera out and went over to shoot them. A young woman and her 3 year old son came up and wanted to know what I was doing. He was a great little inquisitor and she was a pleasure to get to know – if but just briefly. You don’t usually get those interactions when you are carrying an AR15 to the shooting range.

    By the way – did I mention in all that, that your shots are stunning? Great work, Chip!

    • Charles Payet

      Wow – what an awesome and thoughtful essay, Jon! Love it, and thank you!

      For anyone interested in seeing some awesome photography of aircraft (among other things), both on the ground and in flight, you should check out Jon’s website: Jon Berry Photography. He’s pretty darn good, too!

  • Well said Bernie. I love how emotion can be captured. The cool shade, the happy reunion, the “smell” of a pine forest, the melancholy in a face etc. Like you say,it preserves that moment.