Why do you make photographs? Some people will answer that they want to document their travels or important events in their lives. Others are inspired by nature and want to capture this inspiration. And many use photography as a positive escape from the hectic rat race of life (a kind of meditation or mental yoga). But if we dig even deeper I think there’s a universal desire, if not a need, for creativity. As kids we’re all naturally curious and creative. Unfortunately, these traits get zapped out of us early on as we’re taught the “values” of practical education, work, consumption and conformity. Many of us pick photography as a creative antidote for the pressures put on us by society.
But as we learn and practise photography, the “ought tos” start to rear their ugly heads. We’re taught about subjects we ought to photograph, locations we ought to visit and compositional rules we ought to follow. In short, over time, the very hobby we took up to express our creativity is stuffed into a box and turned into formula. We suppress our creativity and shoot just what others deem acceptable.
To read Darwin’s remedy for this common photographic ailment please pick up the Winter 2015 issue of OPC today, or subscribe!