What photography gives and takes

I very often find myself going back and forth between photography and “the real world” as I call it.

For me, photography is often an escape from reality. It’s something that’s more meaningful than regular everyday things. It’s history in the making. It’s history being made. It’s the act of creating something meaningful. Not for the sake of earning money or to further a career – but simply the act of making something that matters. Sadly though, in these times, nobody values this any more. The world is being flooded with photographs on Instagram, Facebook, Flickr and 500px, and nobody really spends time looking at images any more. Most people just glance at them and swipe to the next…

I wish I could just enjoy making photographs for myself. But I don’t anymore. For some reason photography has become something that means more to me. Something that defines me. Something that matters. But at the same time it feels like it’s one of the most pointless things that I’m spending time and energy on.

For the last years I’ve been collecting a lot of photographs that I find to be of OK quality. These have never been published or shown anywhere. They’re just sitting in my image library. I have no idea what to do with them. The only pictures that I’ve actually shown are the photographs that I find to be of lesser quality, or, photographs that doesn’t mean a lot to me – or – photographs that are of people who I love, that I want to share. The last category of photographs are the most valuable to me, but they don’t belong in a project, so sharing them is easy, because it doesn’t require a context. The last category of photographs that I’ve shown are camera review photographs. Just some mediocre photographs to show the technical capabilities of a camera that I’ve been playing with for a while.

Personally I find that the only images that mean anything to me, are the ones of the people who I love.
Other images that are valuable are images of historical quality, for example, at an event in time where something that really mattered and changed the world happened.

“Pretty Pix” doesn’t matter. Smooth bokeh doesn’t matter. Street photographs of some strangers doesn’t matter. I’m starting to find all these genres of photography completely uninteresting and boring. The only photographs that are valuable are my personal photographs – family, friends, travel, etc. The “street photography in some city” is completely pointless and of no value. They’re just strangers in a composition. The same goes for commercial photography, with all the re-touching and editing being applied today. Pretty and soulless pictures of some models looking like they’ve just had an orgasm. Ultra-wide angle interior pictures making small shoe-box sized apartments look spacious and luxurious. And so on and so on…

All of this leads me to a personal conclusion: Photography today isn’t what I consider photography to be (or what it was). Photography today is all marketing and self-promotion. The marketing and self-promotion can be commercial or personal. Thousands of people use photography today to market themselves on Instagram and other services. For what? For likes and comments? Sorry, but likes and comments from complete strangers are lost the day we die. It’s all complete BS and completely worthless and without any depth or real value at all. Still, that’s what people seem to strive for. And I’m personally starting to get fed up with these new trends. The more I see it happening, the less I want to participate in it.

I see more photographers online today trying to sell workshops, straps, soft-release buttons, bags, and all sorts of junk rather than trying to sell or show their work in a good manner. Then you have the photographers who market the cameras and lenses for certain companies. You know – these photographers that only use and value one brand above everything else, and that write the same articles over and over again about the latest and greatest from that specific manufacturer. Then you have the photographers who just tries to write as much as possible about everything, and throw a bunch of ads all over their website to monetize from it.

Where’s the real value in all of this?

I’m starting to think that my adventures with photography, and especially film photography, is a complete waste of time.
It takes so much time and effort, and it never really leads to anything. It takes time away from what matters: Family, friends, career, studying, and just enjoying life. What’s the point of this blog any more?

I have no idea.