The Pull

Architecture Study Series 1, No. 8 (Julie Penrose Fountain)

Architecture Study Series 1, No. 8 (Julie Penrose Fountain)
Colorado Springs, Colorado 2014

There’s lots of things in life you have to push yourself to do – paying the bills, going to the dentist, picking up groceries.  Often, even when people tell me about things they do for fun – participating in sports, playing music, practicing photography – I get the feeling they have to push themselves to do those things as well.  These are the kinds of people who play their sport once or twice a year, or haven’t picked up their musical instrument in six months, or who only dust off their camera for vacations or special occasions.

The people I know who are really in to what they do feel a compulsion to do it.  They don’t have to push themselves, the activity pulls them in.  For me, the pull is all about the process – seeing something interesting, capturing it with a camera, and working on the capture to realize a print.  I don’t even hang my own work on my own walls – not because I don’t like it or think that it’s not good, but because the pull isn’t about the finished product, it’s about the feeling of being engaged in the process.

Just one person’s observation, of course.  In your own life, what is it that pulls on you?

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  1. Rick G January 11, 2016 at 11:13 am #

    You may be the only other photographer I’ve heard express this point of view. When I tell friends that my focus is not the sale of a print but the process, and that none of my images are on display in my home, they usually look back in confusion.

    I see photography as a way of developing observational and artistic skills in order to be more mindful and appreciative of the world around me. The quality of the work serves as a visual indicator of my progress (or lack thereof!) in that direction. So I guess really the end product that I’m working on is not a print, but myself as an artisan and observer of life.

    I’m sure one could pursue the same goals through the avenues of writing, sculpture, or any other artistic endeavor. I just like being outside, studying nature and the light upon it… and I’m not much of a painter.

    • admin January 12, 2016 at 12:28 am #

      Looks like we’re on the same page, Rick, and you’re right, I’ve not met any other photographers who don’t display at least some of their work in their homes or workplaces.

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