Yes, a rhetorical question but one I found interesting this week, prompted by three recent events.
First of all I was most honoured to be invited to join in the first online meeting of the Australian Chapter of the RPS. I am planning a post-Presidency trip out to Australia so I had more-than-usual interest in the images they showed. My thoughts went back to a trip to New Zealand where my photography became a family visual record of the trip. And maybe a photobook at some point.
Secondly I have started planning my work going forward. I run my own business but it was pretty much eradicated by the unexpected early accession to the Presidency. What part will photography play in this post-Presidency? Possibly a return to portraits for Identity.
These thoughts came together as I attended one of the Distinctions Live events - Paul Colley in conversation with Stewart Wall. Paul takes some stunning images and has recently invested in some very high end equipment to facilitate a move into astrophotography. I worked in this area for a while so this topic caught my eye. I look forward to seeing these images as I am sure they will be equally stunning. He is on an interesting journey.
It is this breadth of approach that I find fascinating across the RPS. Some concentrate on the ultimate in composition or print quality. Some do it just for the joy of doing it, others as a part of their job. It led me to the core of the question - why do I do it?
Sometimes it is to preserve a thought for future consideration; sometimes it is to capture a memory such as my New Zealand record. I have used it a lot in my work as either a measurement tool or a notebook. In all these cases the quality of the image is not the prime consideration; it is the content.
Here is a recent example. During lockdown we were faced with finding stuff to do from home. A group of us decided to learn to identify birds in the garden. I stole a piece of our Charter "...to educate members of the public by increasing their knowledge and understanding of Photography..." , to show how photography can be a tool to help this educational endeavour. Image quality not great (taken through hazy double glazing), burnt highlights and lost shadows, only a few pixels (15m distance in my 300mm lens) but it does the job. We think it is a young goldfinch.
Sit back and think sometime. Why do you do photography? And what do you get out of it? For me this feels like the start of another journey.