Why I take pictures.


David Watson here. I’m a lifelong friend of Al’s. He asked me to take over the Saturday column. A little bit about me. I’m a dentist in Paragould, Arkansas, with a passion for photography. Some Saturdays I will write a column, other times there will just be pictures following a particular theme, along with the techniques employed to achieve the desired effect.

Al had asked readers to submit pictures for each theme and I want to continue with that. Next week’s theme is joy. I look forward to seeing other peoples’ interpretation of joy and all the themes, so I hope that many of you will participate. Send photos to drwatson@grnco.net.

People take pictures for different reasons. Why do I take pictures? I take pictures because it gives me the opportunity to preserve a moment in time. I take pictures to allow me to express my creativity. I take pictures so that I can show others the things that I enjoy. When I am in a beautiful place, the first thing I want to do is photograph it. I spend a great amount of time looking at the subject and analyzing it so that I may be able to capture it in a way that expresses how I feel about it. If the subject is a wonderful landscape, I look for the elements that I want to include in the picture and for what I want to leave out. I determine what is the best time of day to photograph this landscape, and even what time of year will allow me to transfer my feelings of this landscape to the photograph. Sometimes I photograph what I like to call abstract images. Abstract images are just that, abstract. In photography, many times the parts equal more than the whole. Taking a picture of just a part of the subject makes a more dramatic statement. An abstract picture of an object often makes the viewer of the photograph think more about what the object is and its purpose than if he or she has a view of the whole object.
So, why do you take pictures?

6 Responses to “Why I take pictures.”

  1. Al Sturgeon Says:

    Thanks, Dave.

    I’ve gone through a couple of stages so far…

    First, I took tons of pictures of everything and everywhere. The great feeling I discovered is that taking pictures seemed to give me permission to go do things. I can be a bit passive, and where I would have felt silly going to a place down here on the Coast just to go, going to take pictures seemed to give me the permission that I needed. “So what were you doing there?” “Oh, I went to take pictures.” That seemed to justify it for some weird reason…

    For the past year, however, I’ve been into chronicling the life of my family. Beginning January 1, I’ve insisted on taking at least one picture every day of someone in my family doing something. I’m stringing them together to burn on a CD to have something that will forever document the year 2005 – just for us. I don’t think I’ll do this next year, but I’ve enjoyed it an awful lot this year.

    So there will be a 3rd stage for me I’m sure, but I’m not sure what it will be yet…

    Thanks for taking over the photography page, Dave. You are a million times better suited for it than me – but I’ll be your most loyal reader!

  2. DocWatson Says:

    The family historian is the most common type of photographer. Darah’s mother and aunt are the family historians in her family. They take a picture of every person at every event. I do not get into the historian thing that much. I am trying to do better with that. I try to photograph everyone at every event now, but with a journalistic approach.

  3. Al Sturgeon Says:

    When Hillary was born, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool to take a picture of her every day of her life, string them together, and see if you could notice those little changes that transform a person from a baby to a toddler to a kid to a teen to an adult?”

    Didn’t do it.

    Now, I’m doing it for one year, and it’s kind of exhausting. Good, but exhausting.

    In addition to things like Erica’s graduation, 1st day of college (today!), and family vacations, we add in those little around the house things (watching tv, doing homework, etc.) that add up to be “life.” It’s been worthwhile, but I’m growing tired of having to remind myself EVERY DAY that I need to take a picture of someone.

  4. DocWatson Says:

    Where is Erica going to college?

    Photography is no fun when it becomes a job. You will appreciate your hard effort to capture something everyday in a few years.

  5. Al Sturgeon Says:

    Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

    She called me this morning after her first class, and she’s off to a good start!

  6. --D Says:

    I have ALWAYS taken pictures. As a child I would pose my little brother on the ironing board sitting on one of my doll blankets, turning his head just so and crossing his hands on his knee. He was an extremely active child, so looking back it’s hard to believe he sat still long enough for my pretend world!
    My first real photos were not so great! My mom has some of them in an album with my name written beside them: my dad’s arm, half of a neighbor lady. Eventually, the pictures got better. I took pictures of family members, signs of places we visited, and interesting sights. My goal has been to remember events and memories by photographing them, whether the moments were happy or sad. Taking too many photos may seem like a waste of time and money, but taking too few photos is the real crime. Not being able to visualize a passed on family member because no one took the time to photograph them is a risk I’m not willing to take. So why do I take photos? I take photos so the past won’t slip away while I’m focusing on the future.

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