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Finding Deeper Meaning in Photography

CJ Chilvers
CJ Chilvers
1 min read

Another question I’m frequently asked is about how to find deeper meaning in photography, specifically in a hobbyist’s body of work, which usually consist mostly of snapshots and a few attempts at "big projects."

First, I think it’s great we’re even asking that question. Most hobbies gloss over such introspection and chalk it all up to “a fun way to pass the time.”

Second, never consider snapshots a waste of time. In fact, they’re the king of all photographs.

Third, the deeper meaning lies in the appreciation of the moment when you’re photographing, not your past body of work. Worries about a body of work are for professionals. Being a professional is about a life spent working for the wants and needs of the market, not of one’s self.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being a professional photographer, but it's an entirely different approach to art and to life. We keep blurring the lines and expecting hobbyists to act and buy like professionals.  That’s destructive to mental health and bank accounts.

Just like the folks at Field Notes keep saying, “I’m not writing it down to remember it later, I’m writing it down to remember it now.” We’re photographing for now, not later.

Whatever inhibits the appreciation of the moment must be abandoned, even if that means downgrading your gear or leaving your camera at home. Only use what helps you enjoy the present, because that’s all we’ve got.