The Varsity

The Photographic Artistic Life

Every photographer you meet has some reason, some motivating influence, that brought them to the camera. Reasons for living “the life photographic” can be as varied as wanting to make lasting memories of childhood, documenting travels far from home, capturing wildlife in its natural environment, or as an outlet for creating personal art. The reason can be individual and wide-ranging as the backgrounds of the photographers. Whatever the reason, knowingly or unknowingly, once you are a photographer you’ve taken a step toward leading an artistic life.

What is so great about an artistic life?

It’s a good question. It’s a necessary question. Today many people are convinced that they are not artistic. The lesson that has been learned is that art is something that other people do. Nothing could be further from the truth. Art is the arena of all of this, we all have some creative spark, even if we don’t recognize it. Being artistic is nothing more than creating something aesthetic, something meant to be beautiful and appreciated.

An artistic life produces a sense of accomplishment and pleasure. The creative act is something profound. Leading an artistic life opens you up to new experiences and take you out of your comfort zone.

As a photographer, you have the intent to capture an image that might be a documentation, a memento, or commercial. In every instance, however, there is also the intent to produce something pleasing to the eye.

What’s so great about photography?

Pretty much everything. There may be debate over whether photography is an art or a craft, but let’s skip that for now and say that photography is a tool. As a tool, photography is the most democratic, accessible means available to produce an artistic product ever created. The camera is a recording device, but that is not all. Photography depends on the photographer to produce output that matters. It is all about the choices the photographer makes.

You can choose to just snap away without regard to composition or light. Or you can be a more active participant and make conscious, meaningful decisions about the photographs you produce. It comes down to you; where you choose to photograph, where you choose to stand, what you choose to point the lens at, and when you choose to press the shutter.

Photography is something that is always with you. Even if you don’t have the latest full frame or mirrorless camera, you probably have a cell phone on you. The cliché rings true; the best camera is the one you have with you. Luckily, you always have one with you. This was always the promise of photography, that it would be accessible to many, a means of creativity and expression for the masses.

Also, at its core photography is a commitment to a vision, to an interaction with the world around you. No matter what your skill level or your intent, it means you have made a statement about a thing, place, or moment in time.

Why lead an artistic life through photography?

Photography has strengths that allow every photographer to involve aspects of an artistic life into each and every day.

  • Become more aware of the beauty around you
  • Make you a better observer of those around you, and more understanding of other people
  • Develop your “eye”, the unique way in which you see the world
  • Create something to share with others
  • Leave something as a remembrance of you
  • Quick results help develop skill if persistent

An artistic life helps you to see what you might be missing in life. Photography, is accessible to most people, can achieve good results quickly, and produces a result that is infinitely reproducible through prints, digital images, etc.

While all art is personal to the one who creates it, photography feels special. Every photography that you create is a singular moment, a slice of experience that is special to you. Other photographers may have similar experience and produce similar photographs, but they will not be yours.

Photography is a record of things you’ve seen and done. Photography is a record of you.

Hopefully, there has been something in this short piece to help you understand how great an advantage there can be to leading an artistic life through photography. You may find your own reason why photography is a great companion to your life.


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