If nobody cared, would you still take pictures? I often remember this question, and my answer will always be yes. In his recent video, lovely Steve O’Nions takes you on a hike through the mountains. He is taking photos, enjoying himself, and discussing why you should take photos for yourself, and not for others. So, should you take photos even if nobody else cares? Let’s see what Steve says, and let’s discuss.
The art of capturing moments
One of Steve’s most remarkable experiences was his climb to the peak of a challenging mountain. He was no stranger to the mountain’s tricky terrain, but the poor visibility had made it difficult to distinguish the rocky landscapes. Despite the hurdles, the reward of reaching the summit was unparalleled.
Contrastingly, during one of his climbs on a sunny day, Steve was gifted with breathtaking views from the mountain’s peak. From this vantage point, he was able to capture the splendor of Snowden and other prominent peaks stretching across the ridge.
Steve says that, for him, walking the hills is a rejuvenating experience. Especially if he brings his camera (or cameras). The real treasure for him was not only the walk itself, but the photos he captured along the journey. These images, each uniquely beautiful, served as a tangible memory of the incredible sights he witnessed.
Three main reasons to take photos for yourself
Photos are more than just images; they encapsulate experiences. Steve’s journey had its share of challenges – exhausting climbs, encounters with farm animals, and harsh weather conditions. Despite these obstacles, the reward lay in the resulting photographs, capturing the essence of each journey. The act of taking photos isn’t merely about having a keepsake. It’s about preserving the experiences in a form that could be revisited and shared.
What’s more, each photo Steve captured could hold historical significance. A ruined gable end or abandoned mine buildings gave him an opportunity to preserve a glimpse of history and the struggles of a bygone era. This made me reflect on the photos I took only a few days ago, showing the devastation of my hometown due to recent supercell storms. The morning after the storm, I grabbed my camera and went for a walk. While it’s certainly not a pleasant memory, it is a piece of history that I managed to preserve.
Finally, taking photos doesn’t only allow you to share experiences but also to add a creative aspect to your adventures. They serve as a reminder of the beauty that one has witnessed firsthand.
You may see things a little differently if you live from photography. I don’t, so it may be easier for me to tell you about just taking photos for yourself. However, I believe that it’s important to separate work from pleasure, and still keep the creative drive that makes you shoot just for the sake of shooting and enjoying the view, even without sharing or selling the images.
Personally, I love walking around with my camera, or even just my phone, looking at the world around me and enjoying the view. I take photos as it relaxes me and makes me happy. Most of them never get published anywhere, no one cares about them – but I do. And in my opinion, that’s all that counts.
[Shooting photos for yourself, not others. | Steve O’Nions]