What drives and motivates photographers to do the work they do? I think that our unifying motivation is curiosity – an unrelenting, never-ending curiosity – an “itch” to know more about something and to learn about that thing through photographing it.
I was prompted to think about how we should cultivate the itch – our curiosity – and not the scratch by this quote from photographer Sabastião Salgado:
“If you’re young and have the time, go and study. Study anthropology, sociology, economy, geopolitics. Study so that you’re actually able to understand what you’re photographing. What you can photograph and what you should photograph.”
The creative act is worth taking the time for. It’s worth making the time for. It’s what holds us up and keeps us going. Thousands upon thousands of creative people are forced to make the time to create. It’s worth it because of what we give ourselves and what we give back to the world.
If you see a picture that you think you may have photographed before, take it. Both the subject and the photographer may have changed since the last time you photographed it. Regardless of the reason, you should always make the photograph.
Among the many things that make photography such an interesting pursuit are its qualities of objectivity combined with subjectivity. In the end, photography is an objective medium with a subjective soul.
Each one of these images is ostensibly of the same subject (or is it object?) but each one dramatically different from the other based on my subjective interpretation of the scene. Thinking through the choices we make is what makes photography tick.
In addition to the phrase “Less is More,” the great architect Mies Van der Rohe also had another saying that relates to making creative work, and that is “God Is In The Details,” suggesting that attention to each and every detail of your process, from conception to execution, is integral to making the best work possible.