I don't know why I'm a photographer

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Pete
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#1
Bit of an odd one this. I've got 2 interviews tomorrow about my book and I've already been told that one of the questions is "What inspires me to go out and photograph Liverpool." Last time I did an interview I gave a rubbish answer. "Its the light." Sure we get nice light here and great sunsets but seriously, thats a rubbish answer and I feel its disrespectful to Liverpool. So I've spent a while thinking and I can't answer it. I know what I like to photograph, events, people, gigs, architecture, landscapes and such but I don't know why. In the early days when I was still doing a 9-5 desk job it was easy. It got me out, it was something different and a fun hobby. Its not a hobby anymore. I've come to realise that its what I was meant to do. Its who I am. I remember being a kid and framing things in my head without really knowing why.

So why am I a photographer? Because its simply who I am? Because it gets me out? If that was the case then why do I goto Liverpool and not Chester? Chester is easier to get to and closer. Turn left, turn right, turn left and 15 minutes later I'm in Chester. Liverpool is lots of turns and a tunnel. Its about 25-30 mins for Liverpool. So why do I go there? Why did I get up yesterday, grab my cameras and head out into the heavy rain and sleet to photograph the newly opened Pier Head area? Is it simply because it makes a good photo? There must be something driving me to do this but I can't say what. Is it because I know I'll get a good photo? Is it simply that Liverpool is such a fantastic place that I know I'll always get a good photo there? So ultimately I just like taking nice photos...

War photographer James Natchwey, a hero of mine, says this;

"I have been a witness, and these pictures are my testimony. The events I have recorded should not be forgotten and must not be repeated."
He has a solid reason for what he does. He goes to the worst places in the world and hopes his photography can in some way prevent these things from happening. Maybe because I came into this from a hobby and that hobby was simply the enjoyment of taking photos. Maybe because I've never had a clear direction or aim in my photography I can't say why I do it. I used to say I simply take nice photos. Theres nothing complex about my work, I just want to show off Liverpool.

Maybe I'm over thinking this and the fact is that I just love the city and want to show it off. Maybe thats ok. But in my heart I have no idea why I'm doing this. All I know is that this is who I am and I'm going to keep doing it until I can't. Maybe I'll find out why along the way.
 
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Steve
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#2
Maybe I'm over thinking this and the fact is that I just love the city and want to show it off. Maybe thats ok. But in my heart I have no idea why I'm doing this. All I know is that this is who I am and I'm going to keep doing it until I can't.

I think you just gave the answer right there....

S
 
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#3
Really? Nuts. Thats going to take time to memorise ;) It just doesn't sound like something I should say though. "Oh its this and that, its wonderful." Not "Um, dunno."
 
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#4
Ha, I just edited it a bit to highlight the key statement. but, I reckon that's the nut's and bolts of it.

You don't know why, It's just what you'll do it until you can't.
 
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#5
Isn't amazing how the simple questions are the ones that are hardest to answer.

I think you may be thinking about this a bit to much, maybe reading between the lines here the answer is that you have a deep love for Liverpool and enjoy nothing more than taking photographs of it. Do you need any more motivation than that, does the lack of a deeply profound or more well thought out answer make you any less of a great photographer?

I suspect that you have found a calling in Photography (sorry if that sounds crass or trite) and that is what drives you to do what you do.
 
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#6
You're trying to give two answers to one question - distilling down what you've written above I read :

Why am I a photographer ? : I've come to realise that its what I was meant to do. Its who I am.

Why photograph Liverpool ? : the fact is that I just love the city and want to show it off

BTW, I feel the same way in response to the first question, but don't really feel I've found my purpose for it yet.
 
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#7
I saw your book the other day Pete in the front window of waterstones picked it up had a flip through and saved myself £15-20 :D

Seroulsy though when and if the question arrives simply put it as you have here as this seems like an honest answer and a far better answer than "Its the light" :D and ive used that exact answer to and regreted it:puke:
 
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#8
I worry that saying its what I was meant to do sounds, well, its the sort of thing a Superhero says. They can say it though because they're a Superhero. They have a destiny because its written into the plot :) If I say it it sounds silly.
 

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#9
Having looked at most of your photos, I am struggling to find a reason too. Perhaps a change of career is needed?
 
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#10
You're trying to give two answers to one question - distilling down what you've written above I read :

Why am I a photographer ? : I've come to realise that its what I was meant to do. Its who I am.

Why photograph Liverpool ? : the fact is that I just love the city and want to show it off

BTW, I feel the same way in response to the first question, but don't really feel I've found my purpose for it yet.
I agree, this is what I was trying to say and failing to achieve(y)
 
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#11
Why am I a photographer ? painting is way too slow

Why photograph Liverpool ? Its been proved time and time again that its the best place in the world for inspiration

HTH
 
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#12
I saw your book the other day Pete in the front window of waterstones picked it up had a flip through and saved myself £15-20 :D
Ha! I'm guilty of the same thing though. "Nice book but I can see it all online." But I was broke at the time so ner :p

Having looked at most of your photos, I am struggling to find a reason too. Perhaps a change of career is needed?
To my real passion, temporal mechanics. Next Saturday night I'm going back to the future!
 
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#14
You're trying to give two answers to one question - distilling down what you've written above I read :

Why am I a photographer ? : I've come to realise that its what I was meant to do. Its who I am.

Why photograph Liverpool ? : the fact is that I just love the city and want to show it off
:agree:

Having looked at most of your photos, I am struggling to find a reason too. Perhaps a change of career is needed?
:LOL: Or imagine that you've packed it in and then maybe you'll miss being a photographer, if you miss it then you can define why....I've had too much coffee again haven't I?
 

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#15
I think you just gave the answer right there....

S
I agree tbh. You've given good answer there, you just need to tell that to the interviewer tbh.
 
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#16
I worry that saying its what I was meant to do sounds, well, its the sort of thing a Superhero says. They can say it though because they're a Superhero. They have a destiny because its written into the plot :) If I say it it sounds silly.
You're an artist, you're supposed to sound like a bit of a knob :p
 
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#17
haha :p I don't consider myself to be an artist. I'm just a photographer and I like taking pretty pictures.
 
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#18
It sounds to me pete that you are looking for a mission in the name of photographer, as in a reason. What's wrong with the inner desire to simply photograph? or to share your vision of your eyes to the world? The reasons to be a photographer does not need to be one to serves the public or make the world a better place, there is no shame in admiting that you are in photographer for a self serving purposes and that resulted in a career is a bonus.
 
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#20
Say what you feel, even if it's uncomfortable, in fact, especially if it's uncomfortable ...
 
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#23
I worry that saying its what I was meant to do sounds, well, its the sort of thing a Superhero says. They can say it though because they're a Superhero. They have a destiny because its written into the plot :) If I say it it sounds silly.
Didn't you get a dinky costume and tights when you became "HDR Man" ?

Cue stirring, nay marshal music and 1930's hero of the soviet union pose.
 
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#24
Simple - "Chicks dig it and I wanted to meet cheerleaders."


Seriously though, I think simple honest answers are best and not pretentious nonsense that you think you should be saying.

I'm a photographer because I like the act and the result of taking photographs. The fact that you are paid to do the thing you love is an added bonus and not one that many people get.
 
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#25
But if it was simply about taking photos then I'd photograph anything, but I don't. There must be a reason why its people and places. I don't like macro, cars, sports, trains, passenger jets, flowers, bugs, etc. I do know that I love Liverpool when the light hits it right. Down Bold Street in the afternoon where you find the coolest looking people to photograph. I guess what inspires me is simply the city. Why I do it is because I love it. But I just feel like there should be more. I know nothing about ships but I love to get great photos of them docked in Liverpool. It probably sounds really pretentious and artsy but I just take photos of things that make me go "Wow. How cool!" But the odd thing is that people make me do that and I'm shy. There must be something in me that overrides the shyness and makes me take photos of people. The quest for that next good photo? Is that what drives me? Trying to be better than my last pic? Simply seeing something new and if it inspires me I try and capture it. Is that it?
 
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#26
That's your answer then. I think your trying to over analyse it. Stop thinking about what you should or shouldn't say and say what feel.

Liverpool inspires you and it inspires you to photograph it.

It sounds to me that although you capture Liverpool for your own pleasure you also want to communicate what it is you love about it to others and you do that through your images.
 
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#27
Its Liverpool Pete, you answered it already. Its such a diverse and eventful place, there are a million unique photo opportunites here and you clearly love documenting them using your own unique perspective. That coupled with what you concluded with previously, seeing something WOW and trying to capture it and do it justice for others to view :)


Edit: LOL I think Garry^ and I have reached the same answer!
 
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#28
I asked myself this question too .. as have many I'm sure..

Inevitably Pete your soul is layered bare in your images, just like mine and all of us, they do show the creative side to you and that exacting creativity can bee see shinning out of your photographs.

You may not have thought about this it seems , but much of your creative psychology is layered bare for all of those inclined to see... And for you, at present, that's possibly quite a lot.

So shyness or not, you have little choice but to face the music, and in doing so you must be far more honest with yourself and say exactly what you feel about your own creative art... photography.

There's no shame at all in being yourself.
 
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#29
Inevitably Pete your soul is layered bare in your images, just like mine and all of us
It is comments along these lines that border on the pretentious IMO. I don't believe "your soul is layered bare in your images" (that makes me think of the stories about amazonian tribes being fearful of cameras). You take images and the images show what you saw and how you wanted it to be seen, not your soul.

You wouldn't look at Pete's images and go "oooo look, Pete's bare soul is showing."
 
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#30
I think what he means is that whether you know it or not you put yourself into your photography. I had this discussion with an artist once. She felt that because I'm a bit shy and perhaps timid (yes I can be :p) thats why I create these hugely dramatic photos. I might not be the kind of guy who shouts out about things with my voice so I do it with my photography instead.
 
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#32
It is comments along these lines that border on the pretentious IMO. I don't believe "your soul is layered bare in your images" (that makes me think of the stories about amazonian tribes being fearful of cameras). You take images and the images show what you saw and how you wanted it to be seen, not your soul.

You wouldn't look at Pete's images and go "oooo look, Pete's bare soul is showing."
It should have been laid not layered, blnkin spell checker ... But anyhow, blimey Gary!! ...Okay I'll refrain from using the word soul in future so at not to mislead... hows that.

I meant it as Pete understood it. .. (y)
 
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#35
It is a terrible comment. Theres great light all over the place, what's special about Liverpool is its people, its music, its culture, its architecture and its landscapes.
 
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#36
I think its because you are part of Liverpool and Liverpool is a part of you. Therefore you have a skill in which to pay it justice by standing up and shouting in a crowd that's always moving.

It clearly boils down to love for art and location.

Johnny
 
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#37
It should have been laid not layered, blnkin spell checker ... But anyhow, blimey Gary!! ...Okay I'll refrain from using the word soul in future so at not to mislead... hows that.

I meant it as Pete understood it. .. (y)
No worries mate. I wasn't misled at all, I understood perfectly what you were getting at; It's just as I said, IMO I find statements like that pretentious. Yes your images make comment on how you see the world but the whole "window to the soul" stuff takes it too far (again IMO). Maybe it's because I spent 4 years studying photography as an art form at uni, that I'm a bit tired of these types of discussions (or maybe it's because I like a good argument;)).

Oh and seeing as you mentioned spelling; it's Garry not Gary. Cheers (y)
 
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#39
No worries mate. I wasn't misled at all, I understood perfectly what you were getting at; It's just as I said, IMO I find statements like that pretentious. Yes your images make comment on how you see the world but the whole "window to the soul" stuff takes it too far (again IMO). Maybe it's because I spent 4 years studying photography as an art form at uni, that I'm a bit tired of these types of discussions (or maybe it's because I like a good argument;)).

Oh and seeing as you mentioned spelling; it's Garry not Gary. Cheers (y)
:D So you decided to spout your opinion even though your actually really bored of the subject and yet you still don't believe that your personal creativity can only be an extension of you... Just for the sake of an argument.

I can understand that Garry! no worries. ;) (y)
 
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#40
Pete, I'd say it there is a clue in your location tag: 'Wirral NEAR Liverpool'

You come from The Wirrall but you want to be associated with Liverpool.

You obviously have some affinity to Liverpool for whatever reason. Just be honest I say - whay's wrong with an honest answer? Personally, I'd rather listen to an empassioned but straightforward, honest answer than some contrived 'arty' response that the peron is expected to give because they're a creative type.

Just MO...
 
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