This is how I define photography for myself:

I. Photography is poetry with light

To me, photography is poetry with a camera.

To me, photography is writing with light.

To me, photography is putting human emotions, perspective, and soul into an image.

To me, photography is all about expressing yourself as an individual. As a human being. As someone with a unique viewpoint of the world– someone who wants to make images like a precious pearl.

II. Photography is life and death

I think photography is everything. Photography is you and me. Photography is making images with your smartphone, or any other tool you have. You can make photos on your iPad, your point and shoot, or any device with a lens.

To me, photography is about making sense of the world. Photography is about finding appreciation in the small things in life. Photography is about walking slower, looking at things, and finding beauty in the ordinary and mundane.

Photography is a meditation on life and death. Photography is remembering that everything you photograph will eventually perish, die, and wither away.

III. Photographs (and life) are fleeting

Photographs are ethereal– meaning, they are just images that hit our eyes, and our brains process meaning.

Photographs are just images– just like paintings, sculpture, or anything that exists in the world.

Images affect us emotionally. Images force us to see the world in a different way.

IV. Photography is introspection

As a photographer (yes, you are already a photographer) — your job is to discover what you find meaningful and purposeful in life– and share that truth with others.

For me, the truth I learned in photography is this:

It is more important to photograph your loved ones than strangers.

Which is ironic, because I practice mostly street photography.

I’ve had a shift– shooting more ‘personal photography.’ Which means, to make Cindy (my wife and life) the main subject of my photos.

Not only that, but to document myself. To make self-portraits of myself. To meditate on the purpose of my life, my mortality, my limited life on earth.

I’ve learned a lot in life by photographing death. I now want to live more, and to photograph more life.

V. Photography is philosophy

To me, photography is philosophy — applied with a more discerning lens.

To me, philosophy is the love of wisdom — or the search for wisdom.

To me, wisdom is knowing the difference between right and wrong. The difference between meaningful and shallow. The difference between real and fake.

So friend, are you a photography philosopher? Or do you make photos for the gram?

Be strong,
Eric

To find more personal meaning in your photography and life, pick up PHOTO JOURNAL: PERSONAL PHOTOGRAPHY REFLECTIONS.

Learn more: Philosophy >