The Joy of Photography

I don’t usually write opinion oriented material for my Blog, but today I’m going to make an exception. Joy is defined as “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.” Every image I make with my camera began as something I saw that captured my interest. Like this photo.

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When I decide to click the shutter to record what I see, the result winds up in my computer hard drive collection, some deleted others saved, cataloged by year in specific albums, most all to remain unseen forever by others. When I used film and had my photos printed, many wound up placed in family scrapbooks that could be passed down to following generations. This is not so with digital photos stored on my hard drives. So, why do I do this if no one else but me will ever see the hundreds of photos I make every year?

True, I could follow the example of social networking junkies who post online many photos and videos they make, no matter their nature or quality. I’m not criticizing what these folks do … it’s what they “do” and if that brings joy to them so be it. I suspect, however, that most are not making photos or videos for the personal joy of it, but rather are being driven by an ego-boosting need to receive praise and gain attention and recognition from others. “Likes” and “followers” if you will.

Several months ago I began to somewhat fall into this mode of thinking, and found myself out and about seeking photo compositions, not so much for the personal joy of it all, but simply looking for a few select photos I could use to meet my self-imposed deadline to have a new photoblog post so as to keep my online publication current, and to hopefully gain a few more “views” than normal. One day I asked myself why I was so concerned with what others might think about my photos. I’m not in the business of selling my work, even if there was potential for such, which there isn’t in my judgement.

Now that I’m fully retired and deal daily with health and age-related challenges that often overwhelm my mind with negative thoughts, “finding joy” is very important. Spiritually, I realize I’m not alone and faith will carry me along. That process is made so much easier when I grab my camera every day and get out to record the beauty I see all around me. Not to display the results online for others to see or comment on, but merely to make me thankful I get so much personal enjoyment at this stage of my life from this wonderful hobby of ours.