Photography – Why We Love It!

If you ask someone why they love photography, a common first response could be, “I don’t know why, I just do.”

Does one’s passion for taking photographs really need a verbal explanation? Even if we know the reasons behind the continuous clicking of the shutter button, words can often fall short when it comes to expressing our emotions.

One thing is certain: there is a natural human impulse to express ourselves. Pre-historic cave drawings reveal that truth. Taking photographs is one way we can satisfy that primal need.

Self portrait of Steve Gottlieb
Copyright © Steve Gottlieb–Horizon Photography Workshops Self Portrait


I have put a lot of thought into the source of my own passion and enthusiasm for photography, along with observing the enthusiasm of my workshop students, and that has led me to ponder the variety of reasons that photography has such an extraordinarily broad, powerful and enduring appeal.

As you look at this list, see if you recognize the driving forces that fuel your own passion.

Photo of photographer at Grand Canyon
Copyright © Steve Gottlieb–Horizon Photography Workshops Photographer at the Grand Canyon, Arizona

1. Many pastimes require intensive training before you’re really enjoying the benefits. Did you ever pick up a tennis racquet for the first time and try to have a rally?

Photography, particularly with modern cameras with their quick start guides, can bring pleasure from the moment you take your first camera out of its box, and since most people prefer immediate rewards for their efforts, digital photography’s LCD provides that instant gratification.

2. Photography imposes no age limitation. You can start at a very young age and there’s no reason to ever stop. Even if you lack mobility, there’s a universe of creative possibilities.

3. Photography can be enjoyed with basic, relatively inexpensive equipment. Of course for those who enjoy acquiring new and often expensive “toys”, photography is sheer paradise.

4. Pictures are concrete objects that can be shown (or is it shown off?) and talked about. Few of us outgrow the desire for what we called back in elementary school “show and tell”.

Photo of photographers at Mt. Rushmore National Memorial Park
Copyright © Steve Gottlieb–Horizon Photography Workshops Group at Mt. Rushmore National Memorial Park,  S. Dakota

5. Photography gives us a wonderful excuse for exploring new places and meeting new people.

We can hit the road in search of fresh, stimulating subject matter or we can seek out familiar subjects but photograph them in completely new locations.

And what a great conversational icebreaker…almost as good as having a small dog or child! Opening a conversation with a stranger about taking pictures helps overcome most people’s natural shyness.

6. Pictures record our lives…where we’ve been, who we’ve met, how we (and others) once looked. Pictures are tangible evidence of our personal histories. As the years pass, our “photographic record” will probably become the trigger for potent feelings of nostalgia.

7. The still photograph, even more than the moving image, has exceptional power to imprint itself in our brain. We appreciate the power of pictures, which makes us want to take them as well as look at them—to remember the moment.

Photo of photographer behind glass
Copyright © Steve Gottlieb–Horizon Photography Workshops

8. Observing a thing can be a very passive act. Photographing that same thing creates a form of interaction. In other words, taking a picture can connect us to people, places and things in a way that just looking at them may not.

9. Taking pictures encourages us to observe with greater intensity and rewards us for doing so. Photography gets you up close and personal with the subjects you choose. This can promote a sense of intimacy and connectedness with both the act of taking the picture and in viewing it afterwards.

Photo of Jefferson Memorial, Washington, D.C. reflected in sunglasses
Copyright © Steve Gottlieb–Horizon Photography Workshops

The Jefferson Memorial, Washington, D.C.

10. Photography is not just a mechanical act, at least when we get beyond snapshots. It’s a means for viewing and interpreting what’s in front of us. If you ask different individuals to photograph the same subject, each individual’s viewpoint is different and often dramatically so.

For example, portraits can range from idealized to gritty and nature can be viewed as serene or intense. Some will pull the subject in close, while others will take an overall shot. The subject may be shown in either a horizontal or vertical format.

How the light is captured can create an entirely different feeling. In the process, we are creatively expressing ourselves.

11. Photography can be done wherever and whenever. Even bad weather needn’t stop you…in fact, that can make your pictures more unusual.

12. You can take pictures alone, with a companion, or in a group…and it can occupy minutes or hours or days. There is a vast community of shutterbugs, from camera clubs to chat rooms to meet up groups. You can be self-taught, learn through online photography classes, take courses through a local college, or take a photography workshop. Anyway you go about it, photography is fun to talk about as well as do.

Your passion for photography may have reasons not on this list, but maybe it will initiate you to think about what keeps you enthralled with grabbing your camera and going out to capture more images.

Whatever your reasons are, just keep enjoying the photographic adventure.

by Steve Gottlieb

All written content (and most images) in these articles are copyrighted by the authors. Copyrighted material from Apogee Photo Mag should not be used elsewhere without seeking the authors permission.

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