There are different kinds of photographers, and some photographers feel the need to photograph where they live, and others go out and leave where they come from behind and explore.
~ Alex Webb, photographer
I found this thought-provoking quote in a very compelling interview with Mr. Webb on Fototapeta. The whole interview is well worth reading.
I’m curious about what fuels the obsession to capture images on film. I have a feeling that whatever it is that drives photographers differs from what drives painters and sculptors. I also imagine that these motivations are infinite in their scope. I know it’s more than just a need to create, and certainly isn’t linked to any desire for quick fame and fortune. Let’s be realistic, gambling and crime are easier ways to get rich than art.
I’m coming to understand that I need to have a sense of what purpose the photo I’m about to take is meant to serve. Am I just trying to mimic a photographic style I admire, or am I trying to capture a moment, preserve a memory, or create a mood? Am I trying to tell a story, paint a palette of shapes of colours, or show something in a way it’s rarely seen by human eye?
Of course these are all excellent motives, and I think a great photographer channels all these motivations, and more, into their work. But, is the difference between a good photographer and a great one a matter of motivation first, shutter-click second? Or does it make a difference whether we shoot first and ask questions later, so to speak?
I guess I’m going to have to give it a try and see if I can find the answer to that question.