Photography is philosophy. Let me expand some of my thoughts with you:
First and foremost, I’ve learned that photography is one of the best art-creating techniques that exist.
Photography means to ‘draw with light’ (or paint with light/write with light).
- Photo: Comes from Ancient Greek (“phos”) which means ‘light’
- Graphy: To write, scratch into, draw, sketch, paint, etc.
I think after we get beyond our basic needs, the final human use of our time, energy and human metabolism is to create art.
This goes according to “Maslow’s hierarchy of needs” — we first need to cover our physiological needs in life.
Then eventually, we seek ‘self-actualization’ — which is essentially becoming an artist. To create your own reality, to ‘put a dent in the universe’ (in the words of Steve Jobs), and to make artwork which is inside our heart and soul.
There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ for your photography philosophy. There’s only genuine or in-genuine; which means, just be 100% honest with yourself and ask yourself:
“Why do I make photos?”
For myself, I see myself as a visual sociologist. I make photos to better understand individuals and society around me. I’m also trying to make some sort of social commentary and critique as well — when it comes to any socio-political-economic statements; like in my SUITS project or my ONLY IN AMERICA project.
What is ‘philosophy’ anyways?
Philosophy means “love of wisdom” in Ancient Greek:
- Philo: Love
- Sophia: Wisdom/Knowledge
So a philosopher isn’t some monk living by himself in a mountain somewhere; a philosopher is a “lover of wisdom” — someone who seeks to become wiser.
And wisdom is just ‘good judgement’.
Related to ‘sophia’ is ‘sapiens’ (as humans, we are ‘Homo sapiens’). Sapien comes from “sapiō”, which means to discern, (“discern, be capable of discerning”).
And to me, “knowledge” is to know information which can help us make more beneficial decisions in real life.
So to me, studying philosophy is to better understand why we make photos, and to inspire/motivate us to continue making photos!
Do you plan on making images until you die?
As a photographer, you’re an image-maker. You love making visual artwork.
But remember– you don’t need to just make photos. You can make moving pictures (video/cinema), you can make painting/illustrations/sculpture, and ultimately, you should see yourself as a ‘visual artist‘.
If you call yourself and consider yourself a ‘visual artist’ — a whole new world of opportunities will open up to you!
And to take it a step further, call yourself an ‘artist-philosopher‘.
You are both artist AND philosopher.
- Artist: You make artwork (anything can be considered art, even peeling a potato consciously, according to Joseph Beuys)
- Philosopher: You are seeking more wisdom, knowledge, and meaning in your photography and artwork.
Conclusion: You’re always in flux
There’s no conclusion to your photography; you’re always changing, evolving, and in a state of flux.
Give yourself permission to change! Don’t be a self-tyrant to yourself; prohibiting yourself from your own evolution.
Never stop shooting and exploring!
Photography Philosophy 101
Personal Photography Philosophy
Why do you make photos? Reflect in PHOTO JOURNAL:
- The Unexamined Life Isn’t Worth Photographing
- Do You Like Looking at Your Own Photos?
- Life-Affirming Photography
- NEVER STOP EVOLVING!
- HYPER PHOTOGRAPHY
- The Soul of the Photographer
- The Photographer as a Vessel
- How to Think Outside the Frame
- Photography is the Elixir of Life
- Why You Must Photograph
- How to See as a Photographer
- How to Delete Your Pictures
- Your Camera is a Blessing
- Reality vs. Perception in Photography
- What’s Your Final Aim in Photography?
- If We Delete Our Pictures, Do We Delete Ourselves?
- There is No Truth in Photography; All is Allowed
- MEMENTO MORI PHOTOGRAPHY
- YOU ARE A PHOTO GOD.
- How to Gain More Control, Freedom, and Happiness in Your Photography
- The Will to Shoot
- The Art of Constantly BECOMING
- The Frame
- How to Increase Your Visual Perception
- Could an AI Shoot the Same Photo as You?
- A Photographer’s Guide to Seeing
- THE LESS REAL YOUR PHOTOS, THE BETTER.
- Photography as Experience
- SHOOT YOU.
- MAKE PICTURES, NOT PHOTOGRAPHS
- Why You Should Ignore Photography and Art Critics
- Do You Live to Photograph, or Photograph to Live?
- Living a Good Life is More Important Than Photography
- How to Start Fresh in Your Photography
Dictate your meaning and purpose in your life:
- Inner Power
- How to Live a Purposeful Life
- My Definition of Happiness
- Why Change is Good
- Why Work?
- How to Live the Happiest Possible Life
- The Two-Pronged Approach to Maximize Joy in Your Life
- You Always Have Another Option!
- Never Stop!
- What is Your Self-Directed Purpose in Life?
- Live Today Like it Were Your Last
- Do You Photograph to Live, or Live to Photograph?
- Live Life to the Fullest!
- In Praise of Selfishness
- Why You Must Be a YAY-SAYER to Succeed in Entrepreneurship and Life
- Why I Love Walking
- Live Life Like a Video Game!
- Simple Luxuries in Life
- Treat Your Life Like a Fun Experiment!
- Only Prove it to Yourself
- You Don’t Always Need to Feel Joyful to Live a Fulfilling and Meaningful Life
- Life is Too Short to Be Bored!
- Money Cannot Destroy Boredom
- How to Find Inspiration in Life
- Why You Must Ignore Haters to Succeed and Win in Life
- An Active Life is a Happy Life
- My Simple Joys in Life
- Never Stop Striving
- How to Motivate Yourself in Life
- How to Be Optimistic in Life
- How to Dictate Your Purpose in Life
- In Praise of a Dynamic Life
- How to Enjoy Life
- Photography Therapy
- How to Conquer Regret
- Take Your Play Very Seriously.
- How to Prosper
- Memento Vivere
- Destroy in Order to CREATE
- Trust Your Body More Than Your Mind
- Make Photos to Make Meaning in Your Life
- Seek Knowledge, Not Information
- The Purpose of Human Life
- How to Overcome Impedence
- Why I Love Death
- How to Be Centered in the Eternal Now
- How to Be Happy
- Why Do You Care What Others Think of You?
- Why I’m Happy
- Why I’m So Prolific
- How to Reduce LAG in Life
- How to Be a Stoic Street Photographer
- How to Use Photography as Self-Therapy
- How to Free Your Soul From Disturbance
- How to Be a Zen Street Photographer
- Zen in the Art of Street Photography
- How to Find Tranquility in Your Photography
Learn more: Start Here >