What Does Your Photography Mean To You?

December 9, 2009

Photo Tips

Several months ago I had the pleasure of giving a short lecture at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in NYC. One of my Photoshop heroes, Katrin Eismann, Chair of the Masters in Digital Photography Program, had invited me to share some of my photographs and travel adventures from my books, as well as my philosophy on the all-important business side of photography. To start off my session, as I often do, I asked the students to answer this question: What does your photography mean to you?


Over the past 10 years of teaching workshops and giving seminars, this question has been answered many, many different ways – and actually and honestly has brought some people to tears, as photography means so much to some shooters.

I always hear new “meanings.” I have found that when photographers verbalize their thoughts on the personal meaning of photography, some for the very first time, it gives the individual a unique look inside their photographic soul.

Ask yourself this question. You may be surprised at your answer.

Katrin, a wonderful photographer, as well as The Photoshop Diva, was kind enough to write down key words of the students’ responses.

  • Saved my life
  • Exploring
  • Everything
  • Expression
  • Communicate
  • Frame my world
  • Manage my experiences
  • Telling a story
  • Get out of the house
  • Make my mom proud
  • Speak to different people
  • Influence others
  • Build-up language
  • Understand and feel more connected
  • Convey ideas
  • Look and look again
  • Lifestyle
  • Making Money
  • Play and fun
  • Reveal secrets

Nine of these answers were new to me. Again, I have been doing this for 10 years.

Ask yourself this question – from time to time. You answers may vary, as they have for me.

Another interesting exercise, by the way, is to put captions on your photographs. Doing so helps one see the “meaning” in an image.

Check out SVA. You’ll find many way-cool Undergraduate and Continuing Education programs. One of my favorite pages on the site is the Student Art page.

Explore the Light,

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This post was written by:

- who has written 171 posts on The Digital Photo Experience.

Canon Explorer of Light Rick Sammon has published 36 books, including Exploring the Light and Digital Photography Secrets.

When asked about his photo specialty, Rick says, “My specialty is not specializing.”

You can follow Rick on twitter at http://twitter.com/RickSammon and visit his website at http://www.ricksammon.com

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6 Responses to “What Does Your Photography Mean To You?”

  1. Dijea Says:

    Its my poetry – I used to write poetry and find that I can convey more emotion through my photographs than my words. So if a picture paints a thousand words, my photographs are my personal visual poetry.


  2. Brandt Steinhauser Says:

    My photography means that every day I get to do what I love and hopefully people love what I do.


  3. Austin Says:

    Photography makes the world go round! With out photography most of the worlds advertising companies would collapse and with out advertising how would people know what products are safe, available, and many many more!


  4. batgeek Says:

    In one word: Expression. They way I look, frame, and capture a moment, a place or an event, I express what I have in my mind.


  5. Rich C Says:

    For me, photography means sharing what I get to see with folks who’ve never seen the places I’ve been, and who probably never get to see those places in person. I love showing people what’s out there.

    Plus, it gives me an excuse to find interesting places and enjoy them myself!


  6. Dave Cruikshank Says:

    My wife and I had a portrait studio for 15 years. We had to close when I became disabled after 4 back surgeries. Photography for me gives me something to look forward to, to still feel alive, creative, and able to contribute to society. It would be a much bleaker existence without that outlet.


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