What does photography mean to you?

I participate in several photography groups on Facebook. In one of them, someone has recently asked the following question: what does photography mean to you?

Photography means a lot of things to a lot of people, but when I tried to sum it up for myself, the first thing that came to mind was “photography is what I have been doing in the past seven years with my free time, while my life has happened to me”. It is true that lately photography has been less important to me than it used to be and I feel generally uninspired. But it has not always been that way.

Below is a list some roles photography has played in my life:

  1. A social activity. I have met many people through photography, some of whom have become my friends. I meet local photographers through meetup.com, Facebook groups, and local events, and I get to know photographers from all over the world through social media and this blog;
  2. Getting lost in the moment with my camera is one of my greatest pleasures in life;
  3. A source of income. I have earned some money licensing images through stock photography sites, and selling prints. Unfortunately, stock photography agencies have made big cuts in photographers’ royalties in the past few years, making it difficult for the photographer to profit, particularly those who, like me, have a real full time job and are unable to spend a lot of time following trends. Furthermore, most stock imagery needs will quickly be replaced in the coming years by image’s generated with AI. If you’re not familiar with artificial intelligence capabilities, the following is a good introductory video;
  4. An escape from reality.

Lately, I have derived some enjoyment out of executing small projects and series exploring some subjects in more depth. As I age and loose important people in my life, I become more concerned with impermanence and change. To that end, integrating the concept of impermanence in my photography work has been a helpful tool in my personal journey to become more prepared for the losses that are coming my way, including the loss of my own life, eventually.    

The FEATURED PHOTOGRAPH was taken with a 50 mm mirrorless lens at f/5, shutter 1/50 s and ISO 500, on a tripod, from underneath a veranda. It is the dry leaf of the Cecropia, a tropical tree, and has been included in my project “Dry Leaf”, where I explore the beauty of leaves that are past their prime. This, and other personal projects of mine dedicated to impermanence, can be seen on this link. For a previous post about the Cecropia, click here.

And how about you? What does photography mean to you?   


Wall Art Botanical Images

Wall Art Photography projects

Wall Art landscapes and miscellaneous


Published by Alessandra Chaves

Photographer with a preference for nature photography in black and white and other abstractions.

22 thoughts on “What does photography mean to you?

  1. For me, the camera is primarily a tool of exploration. I love roaming the natural world, capturing images of what I see, learning about what I’ve seen, and then sharing the images. In the process, I keep trying to improve those images: documenting what I find in a way that’s as aesthetically pleasing as possible.

    And then there’s this: when the time comes that I can’t roam the world, for whatever reason, I’ll have a record of what I’ve seen to give me pleasure.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My first memories of photography was watching my mother taking pictures with a box camera that she had to look down into from above to take photographs and I distinctly remember the smile on her face as she clicked the button. My mother was always taking pictures and today at the age of 91 she continues to take photographs and video. She has a YouTube channel where she posts them. They are all based on nature and wildlife. So to answer your question I love taking photos because of my mother. She was the person who bought me my first camera. It was a little Minolta. I mostly photographed our cats. I just really enjoy taking photos. Looking through my albums my favorite photos are the close ups of frogs and toads and garter snakes. It is just a personal love of photography and I thank my mother for this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice to hear from you! That’s an inspiring example of your mother still taking pictures and having a YouTube channel. Many people her age have not kept up with technology to even go online. My first camera was a Polaroid my father gave me when I was 11. I took photos of my horses. They have faded considerably with time. That was my happiest time as a photographer.


      1. That would be the key right ? The key that unlocks us and brings us back to the time when we were at our best. To leave behind all that suffocates us. To learn to not let it so that we can breathe again. Ya that’s the key. Thank you.


  3. For me, photography is mostly about long-term projects that mean something to me. It’s about exploring a topic in which I am somehow personally invested.
    Amazing photo of the dry leaf.


    1. Thank you. I wish I had that vision when I was younger, to engage in long term projects that are meaningful to me and to my family. I don’t know if I still have long-term possibilities, but I am not working on the meaningful projects part.


  4. The radiating curves in your image are graceful.

    It can be hard to figure out why we do the things we do. Of the four roles that photography has played in your life, the second is the one I’ve most often experienced. Number 4 partially (or maybe largely) overlaps with number 2.

    Given the events of the past year in your life, it’s understandable that impermanence and change are much on your mind. Aging seems to turn thoughts in that direction anyway, even without traumatic events, as the likely amount of time remaining dwindles.


    1. I like seeing how many different words you can pack in a comment. Most people, myself included, would use the same boring words “ cool”, “nice” or “ clever” for curves and you come up with “ radiating” and “ graceful” 😀


      1. The curves in your photograph seem to emerge from a common point, and that’s what prompted me to use the word radiate. As for graceful:

        Olha que curva mais linda
        Mais cheia de graça…

        Last week I saw the colloquial English word cool used in German.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I always enjoy your leaf photographs and appreciate that you find leaves past their prime to be attractive and worthy models for photography. That forward curve really makes this a fine image and black and white is the perfect vehicle. Although we cannot see the other leaf tips that front tells us that they are similar.
    Photography is a means to express my love of nature. All parts of it. I’ve tried drawing and painting but haven’t the talent for that. But photography allows me to paint with light, or draw if monochrome, so fulfills my creative desire with the opportunity to do fairly pleasing work. Yours is very pleasing and I hope you recover your zeal for the pursuit.


  6. Agreed, the idea of making significant money from photography is pretty much a faded dream at this point. Our circle of friends shrinks over time, meaning less interaction on Facebook. But it’s possible to make new friends. What motivates me to do photos these days is posting them online and getting comments from friends who got a ‘lift’ in their lives from seeing them. So I focus on upbeat or even funny things in everyday life and in nature.

    Liked by 1 person

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