Sunday, January 31, 2010

Why I Photograph




                                     A family of four generations from the Tiwa Pueblo



Photographers are often asked why they do what they do. Often by themselves, as they sit wondering why they didn't become corporate lawyers or baseball players or race car drivers. I can't speak for my colleagues, but as far as I am concerned, I photograph because I really have no other choice. This is what I do. This is what I am.

I am in the business of storytelling. I always have been, always will be. It is what I've been doing since I was a kid. Telling stories, bringing life to characters, devising plots, visualizing scenes and staging sequences of events, images that tell a story. All in exchange for a penny, a smile or a tear, and a little of your time and attention. 

I photograph for a living. I’ve been shooting to make ends meet since I left school. It is my way of surviving, of earning a living and of navigating this world. It is my way of bringing something to the table, contributing what I believe is the best thing I have to offer for others to enjoy. 

I have shot for major corporations and backyard graduation parties, for advertising agencies, medical establishments and architects. Richard Avedon said “And if a day goes by without my doing something related to photography, it's as though I've neglected something essential to my existence, as though I had forgotten to wake up. I know that the accident of my being a photographer has made my life possible.” I couldn't agree more. 

As I said, I am in the business of storytelling. This is an art, a craft and a business, and I thank the Gods of Light for that. I believe that when you look at something I've shot and pay for it, both in terms of your money and something much more valuable, your time, you are entitled to get the best I can produce. This is not a hobby, it is a profession. 

I am happy I survived in this business, and I am happy we met along the way. I plan to keep on doing this until they shoot me down (pun intended). Till then, I'm always working on something new. 




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