One thing is for sure, banging on here about travelling, making images and the art of photography results in absolutely nothing. At least those tourists are showing an interest and getting out there and actually doing it.
Not at all, Keith, it results in an exchange of views and an interesting insight into other psyches and even one's own, if with a different eye. I think that 'getting out there and doing it' really needs to be qualified a little. I've seen folks doing exactly that every summer for too many years to buy into the value of the experience they are having. Damn, I imagined the same dream was going to be a realistic way of life myself, and for the first couple of months we lived here I did spend most of it on the beach. Soon, I couldn't bear the discomfort and blinding monotony of it. In fact, last week, when I took the girls off to the sailing school, it marked the first time in years that my feet have hit a beach - couldn't wait to get off it and shake the stuff out of my shoes.
It's routine; its the doing of the expected. That's all the beach holiday can be. I ask myself why
did I want to have a tan? Why did I want to lie in all that uncomfortable muck best left to the building site (okay, I do know you shouldn't build using sand that has salt in it) and the crabs? I can't give a sensible reply to my own question - how can I expect one on behalf of others? City holidays - the same thing with a different theme, that's all. Go to Rome, walk the walks, see the columns and toss the cents into the Trevi and make the wish. Like everybody else. Follow the footsteps of a zillion million others. And record it all in the camera.
But, that's not a condemnation that I'm attempting. What I'm trying to discover is the unwritten why of shooting it at all. Or if there is, indeed, one to reveal.
Camera as social passport. Well, it does open a few doors, but also closes others just as firmly. Was a time when being a fashion photographer was a passport all right, and to more than foreign ports. Even ugly guys got laid! Now, rich ugly guys get laid.
Again, Fred has it right: whether desirable doors open to you or not is more something in your own character than in your job/hobby or whether you tote a camera.
"People who want to create are the "artists." As Eric said, some art is good, some isn't. The problem with taking the discussion in that direction is the definition of "art." We've been over and over it in the past, and we never get anywhere. But the point is that these people are trying to convey something beyond "I was there" or "this is what it looked like" to their viewers. I think that urge is different from the urge to do, say wedding photography or fashion photography, and certainly from the urge to do product photography. Seems to me that all three of these genres fall more into the recording class than into the creative class, though I've certainly seen some creative work in all three." - Russ.
This can lead into a different direction altogether. In fact, I think that you have chosen to miss the greater part of the function of the three types of work you quoted, Russ; devilish advocacy, perchance? Recording is far from being the motive for fashion and even for product: glamorization is closer to it since there is ever the selling aspect, even for a bottle of detergent. As for weddings - I couldn't wait to dump them - even did so at about the fourth such assignment before I knew if I could make it doing anything else. Why? Simply because there was no interest in those people's lives, their spouses-to-be nor any part of them. But then, I wasn't really driven by money, strange to say. The driver was the work that I wanted to do; a quick, painful failure at fashion or girls would have been far better than a lifetime of brides and grooms, even with a big reward in the bank. Back to that biblical thing I mentioned some days ago: what would it benefit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?
Yes, you are right that some achieve this creativity where many don't, but that's also a measure of the components as much as of anything else. It's no accident that some models get all the work! But creativity is core to those jobs - it's part of why some get them and others never will.
"The reasons why this act occurs are diverse. I rarelly see a professional photographer, I even know some real artists, that use their cameras when it is not for work or create their art.
Except if street or land is your art, that's another story, but then your behaviour will be very different from a tourist.
But very very few that I know go out and shoot all the bloody time whatever is in front of them and certainly less the pyramides or temples if there is not a deep reason for it." - Fred.
Once more, Fred, you might be sitting in my head. You are writing the story of my life. And of any other pro pho that I personally know. Most have no love at all for taking the damn thing around with them without a reason; for ages I thought that my own reluctance to take my stuff walkies was somehow tied up with the loss of physical energy, stamina and pure strength that follows a heart incident. I would think about this body married with this lens - even fantasize about the M9 (just fantasize) when I realise, in my heart of hearts, that the problem is what this thread is about: motivation, not camera type, not physical ability. (Hence my doubts about the sense of taking a drive around France, thinking a camera can even begin
to replace a wife in that equation.)
That's not the same thing as not having anything photographic you want
to do, it's that for me, those things become unattainable without a huge client structure that is long gone. And there comes the Terence Donovan quotation re. the amateur. He never has that structure/experience, so where will he find that key which evades some of us much of the time? Now, uncomfortably wearing the am shoes, I see his point ever so much more clearly!