Why do you photograph?

Why do you photograph? It’s a question I have asked myself a lot this past year. The last two and a half years have marked a sudden return of my passion for landscape photography, and as I’ve gotten more and more into it, I’ve started to ask this question more and more.

I think one of the most important questions a landscape photographer can ask themselves is… Would you still go to these places, still wake up early, still put forth all of this work, even if you couldn’t take a camera with you?

I finally answered that question for myself and the answer was yes. My primary motivation is my love of nature, the feelings I have when I am in the wilderness, the beauty and peace and solitude that surround me in the mountains. The soul renewing and inspiring feelings that flood through me when I watch the sun rise above the mountain peaks or desert ridges.

As I got more and more serious about my photography I started to think more and more about if I could make a living doing it. I started to dip my toes into the water to see how it felt, started to read lots of blogs and follow lots of photographers. Then I realized over a period of time that it wasn’t for me. Whether or not my work is or would ever be good enough turned out to not be the issue, the issue was if I could stand being a part of that industry, I realized I couldn’t. I couldn’t stand the competition, the pride, the opinionated photographers, the websites setup for other photographers to impress other photographers all in an attempt to get more photographers looking at their stuff. As my writer friend said  when he started to enter the world of publishing,  “It’s just a big circle jerk, just a bunch of writers trying to impress other writers”.

There are photographers who can enter that world and not be phased by it, who even enjoy it, and some photographers who are successful without ever having to go through those doors. I wasn’t one of them. The more I posted my stuff, the more I worried about if others liked it, the less I started to enjoy my time in nature and the more I started to get frustrated every time that conditions didn’t work out for the perfect shot. It was time to reevaluate why I was doing what I was doing.

So now I am here. I do this for myself. I do it to maybe pass something cool on to my children. I do it for pretty pictures and memories to put on my walls. I do it because I want to get out there and see these things and watch that sun come up over the mountains one more time. I do it for the feelings and emotions that seem to flow through me every time I am in the wilderness. Perhaps somewhere along the way I will have some measure of success, I don’t know, and frankly am not at all concerned about it anymore.

So why am I sharing all of this? Mostly because typing it out helps me organize my thoughts and understand it better. Also to point out that this website is not going to be what I originally planned it to be. It is going to be a trip report database, a journal of my adventures and the thoughts and feeling I have visiting all of these amazing places. Not a photography portfolio. I’m excited to share all of these places and experiences with the world, and hope that maybe it will inspire more people to get out there to enjoy and protect this amazing planet.

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