The word every photographer fears

The word every photographer fears

Understanding the motivations and purpose behind my landscape photography

When I first got into landscape photography, I was excited to explore something new. I loved the combination of technical and creative, pursuing good light, discovering great subjects, and experiencing new places. My main focus was on improving my camera competency and sharpening my compositional eye, without giving much thought to the purpose or practical applications of my photography.

However, I always knew that to continue, my photography would need something more. If I was going to commit time, effort, and money to creating work, I needed to explain why. What was my goal? How could I explain my work to others? What purpose did my images serve, and how did they relate to one another?

This became clear when I tried to group and organize my photos. I experimented with categorizing them by location, like "Iceland" or "American West," but that didn't feel right. I also tried giving each image an artful title, as you might with a painting, but that approach quickly fell apart.

Eventually, I realized I had a problem: I couldn't articulate the relationship between my images, either to myself or others. I couldn't explain where they came from or what they meant to me.

The root of my issue was a single, wrecking-ball of a word that undermines style, aesthetic, and technical skill. A word that gets underneath your protective armor and stabs you in the heart. A word that single-handedly destroys good intentions, yet reveals new opportunities and insights.

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