• Steve Ball

Why Landscape Photography?

I am sure people have many different reasons for taking photographs of the landscape. Some will be for commercial purposes, others may want to record historical changes or to simply take a record shot of a particular location. Just recently I have asked myself the question in order to better understand my own motivation, which I hope, in turn, will help to further develop my craft and creativity. In starting to answer the question in my own mind I found a good place to start was to think about the factors which don't influence my photography in any shape or form. Two immediate responses came to mind, firstly I don't create images with the aim of pleasing other people, and secondly I have a complete aversion to social media, making a conscious choice not to participate. Those initial responses made me realise how fortunate I am to be able to take images that meet my eye without the need to think about the reaction of others, whether that be positive or negative. It is a much calmer, and safer place to be in my view, which I feel gives me more freedom to be creative in a way which fits with the world as I like to view it. I am not seeking approval, confirmation, or the artificial 'likes' generated through the anonymous tick box. I want to avoid the artificiality of today's community interaction, if only to preserve my own wellbeing. That is not to say that I am not interested in what others think and feel about my work. We all want our images to be admired, and I am no different. However, that is not what motivates me, more so the critical opinions from those people whose opinion I respect, and whose feedback can help me improve and take my photography to the next level for my own satisfaction.

So, why do I take photographs of the landscape? Simply stated, because I enjoy it and it makes me feel good inside. It allows me to capture my own emotional connection with a particular location or even just an intimate part of the landscape. That connection has always been there through years of enjoyment in the mountains and by the coast, but now I can try and bring that to life through the lens, and ultimately through my prints. My photography has become the means by which I can explore my creativity, something I didn't consciously acknowledge until I first picked up a camera and tried to make my own 'art'. I know whether I like a particular photograph I have taken; if I do then that is enough for me. It doesn't really matter whether it is good or bad, the most important evaluation for me is whether or not it pleases my eye. Each of us will have different reasons for taking our photographs, and we should respect and value those differences rather than enter into judgement. That is why I will continue to take photographs in relative anonymity and search for those images which bring personal joy rather than external adulation. If such images provide pleasure to a few other people along the way then that is an unexpected bonus, but not something that is essential to my enjoyment of this fantastic activity.

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