Sunday, December 03, 2006

The worth of it

Photography is such an apparently worthless act that many photographers have issues of their own worth. I know, I have been there too. Here is one anguished soul, Joseph, wondering about the selfishness of photography, in his blog entry, 'fessing up.

And the editor of Lenswork, Brooks Jensen, thinks that his art photography is such a niche interest that he would not even consider given his work to his relatives! And there is much truth in his words.
As I continue making my personal images, I realise that fewer and fewer people will appreciate it. But what will I be giving my photography up for, a position in Hewlett-Packard? A volunteer for world peace?

I know that there is a group of photographers, the photojournalists, that want to change the world. Here is a website for the photographic humanists. But I am not altruistic, I am not even deep. I just like making pretty images.

Who are the icons of our time, film stars? Musicians? Miss Universe? What is their worth? Duh....

So should we be doctors? Lawyers? Engineers? Should we all wear loin clothes and be vegetarian? Should the whole world be populated by Saints?

Photography is something I am compelled to do by an inner need. I don't even begin to comprehend the impulse that starts my photography. I mean, what compels someone to climb Everest or paint a picture? All I know is that I am following a call, and I have no way to judge the worth of this pursuit.

What I do know is that world peace begins at home. My worth as a person is not tied up in the photography. It is tied up with how I treat the people I meet and work with. Do I give a fair deal to my clients and do I nurture the people whom I work with?

My father, wise man that he is, has always asked me, ' Have you robbed anybody?, Have your raped anybody?, Have you Killed anybody? If the answer is no, then you are doing OK.' Life is not that simple, but the crux is there. And I don't think it is just photographers that miss the point. It seems so important to people to be successful and be rich, but what harm do we do others to reach success? The point is NOT what we do, but how we do it. We need to live our lives with love and respect. The photography, taxi-driving, banking, is just an opportunity for us to live a life.

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