What is photography really about?

In todays world with all the knowledge and information available at any given time we tend to forget the real reason of what we do.

This is also a lot of times the truth about photography, we overthink and many times overspend on equipment and use of time to get the perfect picture.



Taking pictures is all about telling the story and people will never ask about the equipment, settings etc. when looking at it. Some people like me that are really interested in photography may try to figure out the settings needed to take an image, just to learn from it.

Take this as the first example:


Testing a chair

This image really tells a few stories to anyone that looks at it. Picture taken a a county fair outside of Seattle a few years back and shows the winner in a chair-making competition. Take a moment to think about expressions, the chair, the routinely parked chain saw, what the weather must have been like etc. A lot of impressions will be made and if left alone for a while it will most likely give different impressions next time.

Do not get trapped thinking that you could not take this picture due to lack of equipment! This is a scanned picture taken in 2001 with the technology available at the time. So upgrading to a few levels above a smart phone and getting the basic knowledge from the user manual will be a perfectly good start.

One of my absolute favorite photographers, Elliot Erwitt shows the masterpieces of storytelling and do usually not walk around with a big camera. People would simply act differently to big than a small camera, and in effect the images would never have the same effect on people watching it later on. And he can make you laugh without speaking a word to you.

Let us look at another picture:

Hurricane ridge

Imagine where the wind is always blowing from, imagine how many people it took to walk the top and create the wide trail, think about the difference in having a bit of a shelter. On top of the ridge nothing grows, a few feet below the big trees have somehow managed to grow. Try to imagine it being a day with pouring rain, what would the same place look like to you? And many more examples if you think about it.


Just reflect on how much information is in a picture for the next generation. Kids growing up, relatives of friends leaving this earth, happiness, illness, vacation, a special sign or anything else that gives the next one more understanding will be a great picture to have. It will make sense to the next generation. And this is all there is to an image even if you buy one and do not take one yourself. When it is in front of you on a wall, desk etc. it will make you create or recreate stories related to it.


And regardless of brand or size this is the reason for an image to be created. You can always chase bigger, better, specialized photos, hobby etc. But as a starting point, just start creating something that will help someone understand or be able to talk about this moment forever.


Go get a camera if you don’t have one and get your life story going.


Hans Kr.