I began to think today about why non-professional photographers take pictures.

@bagarad (14283)
Paso Robles, California
December 12, 2012 6:39pm CST
I know that seems obvious at first, but we take lots of pictures -- at least some people do. Most of us still have unsorted boxes of pictures left from the days before digital photography that have yet to be put into albums. Why do we take all these pictures? Why do we keep them and put them into albums? To impress our friends? To remember things? To blow up and hang on our walls? Or is it something deeper that makes us take our cameras everywhere? What motivates you to take pictures? What makes you put some of them into digital frames or online albums or albums on your computer? As you look back at all the photos in your life, what do you learn? Would you grab those albums in case of fire? If so, why? Are they more valuable than your checkbook or other valuable assets? If so, why? As an aside, I've not been here in a few weeks because of a tooth I had pulled, a continuous headache that lasted for days when the hole in my mouth started to heal, and a number of meetings I had to attend. I also started a new blog, and then had to start one for tomfolio and get it going. This week I've been very active over at Zazzle because of a Facebook group of Zazzlers I joined, and that made me write a new Squidoo lens. Got that published a couple of days ago. This morning I got a flood of new comments on one of my older hubs and learned from those comments I'd gotten the Hub of the Day award for it. So I've been answering comments while starting a new hub inspired by a question someone asked on HubPages this morning. I'm trying to get back to my normal pace of life now that I'm feeling better, but I have a feeling I will need to spend some time getting back to my neglected bookkeeping, as well. And when this rain is over, I have to get back to pulling weeds before the ground gets dry and the weeds get too big to pull easily. I do want all of you to know I value knowing you, even if I can't get to all your discussions consistently. I hope all your winter holidays are happy and that those of you who do celebrate Christmas, as I do, will have a merry and peaceful Christmas.
5 people like this
20 responses
• Netherlands
14 Dec 12
I think photography can roughly be divided into two sections. First you have the photos made during social occasions. I assume they can help us to memorize these events and provide please bringing back happy memories. For instance, looking back at the photos of a vacation to experience the joy once more. These photos are usually not much more than 'snapshots' and the most important/enjoyable snapshots are usually arranged in a photo album. So these albums are valuable, since they hold stories we might have already forgotten. Furthermore, reading (watching) these albums can give us the feeling of time travel, because we can see how the world has changed. This is definitely true for older photo albums. Secondly you have photography as an art. The purpose of this activity is to show other people another view on subjects (or to impress, if you like). These photos are indeed more than just snapshots and can change the way we perceive this world. Take macro-photography (photography of small objects) as an example. These photos can show us the head of an insect with an enormous amount details, which we could never see with our bare eyes. The same holds of course for travel photography, underwater photography etc. So why do most (ordinary) people make these huge amounts of pictures? First of all because they can. There is (almost) no limit to storage anymore, so why not? Besides that, we don't want to miss a special moment and we try to capture these moment as complete as possible. Third and last, because silently we are hoping one of all these snapshots will turn out to become a true piece of art.
@bagarad (14283)
• Paso Robles, California
15 Dec 12
Thank your for such a thoughtful and complete answer. It's obvious you have thought about this.I can relate to those who take pictures hoping that some will turn out to be works of art. In a sense, our efforts to focus precisely on a subject and get the lighting right, etc., are efforts to compose an artistic work. Would you happen to be a professional photographer by any chance?
• Netherlands
22 Dec 12
No, I'm not a professional. I would rather like to call myself an enthousiastic hobbyist, most of which is underwater photography.
1 person likes this
@bagarad (14283)
• Paso Robles, California
1 May 13
I guess that's what I'd call myself, too.
• India
8 Feb 13
Well, I am not a professional photographer, but it is one of my hobby. I started photography in 1958 with a Kodak box camera, we had 620 size black and white films that gave 8 exposures of 4 inch by 2 inch, this you have to get printed and enlarged in studios, my next was Agfa, bellow type, it used 120 size films that gives 12 negatives, black and white, i had my own enlarger and printer in home. Color films came later, these gave 35 mm negatives, we got them enlarged in studios, i have 3 camera that used these 35mm films Next came the digital camera, i have 6 of them, the last one is 20 mega pixel with 35 x optical xoom, i bought last week here. Some cell phones too have good cameras
1 person likes this
@bagarad (14283)
• Paso Robles, California
9 Feb 13
Sounds like we started off the same way. My first camera was a Kodak Brownie that was a gift. Then I worked my way into the 35mm cameras. What I love about digital photography is getting to see your pictures right away and being able to share them immediately online if you want to.
1 person likes this
• India
9 Feb 13
I agree, I have preserved all those, one camera used 127 size rools, it gave 16 shots little bigger than 35mm.
@tammytwo (4299)
• United States
15 Jan 13
Most people take them to preserve their greatest memories. I love to take photos for my family and friends. Many of them mark a milestone in their lives. This is something they can pass on to their children and other family members for years to come. I also used to work for newspaper so I took pictures for many of the stories I wrote as well. Yes, I would attempt to grab my photos if I had a fire in my home though I'm not sure I'd be able to get them all. These photos are very special to me, as they hep me to remember not only my past but also that of my other family members. I do feel they are more valuable than most other possessions, as some of them cannot ever be replaced.
1 person likes this
@bagarad (14283)
• Paso Robles, California
17 Jan 13
How kind of you to take these pictures to help your family and friends preserve their memories. So often, there's a family member who always takes the pictures and is almost never in them. I hope you get to be in some of your family pictures. I have one friends who shied away from cameras and never took pictures. He said he carries the pictures in his mind and doesn't need to have them anywhere else. Most people I know, though, like to be able to see that special smile of a loved one again, even though he's no longer alive. Those pictures help us remember the good times.
@tammytwo (4299)
• United States
17 Jan 13
I also have a daughter who likes to take pictures. So I get to be in them when she is behind the camera. It is very nice to look back at the images of those who have passed on and remember those special moments with them. I am very happy I have the opportunity to be a part of preserving those memories.
@Torunn (7676)
• Norway
6 Jan 13
A summer picture - A summer picture, because it is winter now :-)
Because we're addicted? :-) Because we all dream about one day becoming professionals or winning some price or at least getting published? Possibly getting published somewhere else than a dog magazine? :-) I can't paint or sing, so I have to be artistic in some way I suppose. Plus, when I have a very big camera in front of me, people are less likely to take pictures of me. I don't like pictures of me ....
1 person likes this
@bagarad (14283)
• Paso Robles, California
6 Jan 13
That's a beautiful picture. I'm sure you'll be published somewhere other than a dog magazine with pictures that good. But part of the thrill is in the chase and the challenge of getting the picture before the bee decides to try another flower. I agree there is a certain amount of addiction involved, though. I also take pictures because it's one of the few ways I know how to be creative. I wish I could paint, but a small camera takes much less space than an artists equipment. I'd have my computer anyway.
@Torunn (7676)
• Norway
6 Jan 13
Horse grimace - My horse agrees, he's also not a very patient horse :-)
And you get results much faster with a camera. Painting takes time, and I'm not a very patient person. I should be for macro photography, I'm working on it, but I'm not really there yet.
@drannhh (15237)
• United States
22 Dec 12
Merry Christmas! Glad you are feeling better. Congrats on Hub Award. I take pictures because they are worth a 1000 words, RFLOL. Well, there are about 4 kinds of photos I take. First to document things that for whatever reason I have to remember or show someone as evidence of something, and those photos do not have to be professional. Two days ago I parked my car in a huge hotel parking lot and took a photo of where it was before leaving the garage. Then inside the hotel I took another photo showing which direction we came from the garage on the way to the correct elevator to our room. Second, I take pictures of family and friends and their events, like when they visit or something. Since some family members are highly accomplished photographers I try to make them nice. Third, I take reference shots for paintings I want to paint. The fourth kind of photos I take are somewhat like the first only more for enjoyment than because I have to, and these are to document things I don't HAVE to remember but would like to such as where we went on a vacation or the first flower on a plant I grew from a cutting or some food I cooked and served that was attractive and delicious, and/or something to publish on my blog. Have fun with your weeds!
1 person likes this
@drannhh (15237)
• United States
28 Dec 12
I think the reason men do not take hints is that their brains aren't wired that way. I read a great book once which explained that "wishy washy woman talk" is one reason many women do not get ahead. Yet when we speak directly many men who are not used to women talking that way feel threatened, so we cannot win for losing. Our Christmas was awesome!
@inertia4 (28192)
• United States
20 Dec 12
I think people take pictures for memories. I know my mother has loads of pictures through the years. She also has boxes of slides. They are all still sitting in boxes and albums. I need to get them all together for her and digitize them. That is a task. The only thing I will have a problem with is the slides. And of course getting all the pictures into a timeline order. I take pictures now with my phone. And I store lots of pictures online at ShutterFly.com. I have unlimited storage there. If you are busy and cannot come here as often as you like then don't worry about it. We do understand. I also enjoy reading your discussions. You also have a wonderful holiday.
1 person likes this
@bagarad (14283)
• Paso Robles, California
21 Dec 12
Maybe I should check out ShutterFly. I once took pictures with my phone because it's all I had with me, and I have no idea how to get them off my phone and somewhere else, preferably onto my computer. I have mostly used my phone for making and receiving calls, and it's not a smart phone. It can text and get emails, but I try not to use it for that. I don't know how to access the Internet on it. I suppose if I ever want those pictures, I'd better figure out how. NOw I have a SD disk in the phone, but I didn't when I took the pictures. Have a Merry Christmas, and good luck with processing your mom's photos. Be sure to have her help you label them.
1 person likes this
@inertia4 (28192)
• United States
5 Jan 13
Well since you don't know how to get those pictures off the phone you could always email them from your phone to your email. Then open them and put them on your computer. Although there should be a USB connection somewhere on the phone. But I think email would be easier for you to do. I have not gotten to those pictures yet. With the holidays and all. I had a great christmas and a great New Years. My kids got everything they wanted and that made me happy.
@bluespygirl (2112)
• Philippines
18 Dec 12
I love taking photos but I lost my digital camera. :( So I just use my cell phone now to take photos. I shoot everything that fancies me around. Be it people, thing, house, signage or unusual things. Good thing there is digital photography nowadays that we don,t need to develop our pictures for us to see and appreciate it. I view my shots when I plug my cell phone in a computer. I post some of my shots in facebook but most are just stored. Ofcourse I still wish to have a digital camera. It is easier taking a photo there and you can "spice" up or improve your shots. But as of now, I don't have a budget for it yet..
@bagarad (14283)
• Paso Robles, California
19 Dec 12
Maybe you should use some of those stored photos to help earn some money online. Then, if Santa doesn't bring you a new digital camera, you might earn one. It takes time, but i'm finally beginning to earn dollars rather than just pennies writing and posting products on Zazzle.
• Philippines
13 Jan 13
I had just red this response of yours friend bagarad. Thanks for that information. I don't know that my photos can earn. Will check on zazzle. I still don't have a digital camera now. Thanks again and Happy Lottings!
@ElicBxn (61189)
• United States
13 Dec 12
Memories. Few people can remember everything so you take pictures to help remember them.
1 person likes this
@bagarad (14283)
• Paso Robles, California
13 Dec 12
Yes. And do you remember to label them for your children or grandchildren who will inherit them? It's important to remember to do this while you still remember what that place was or that person's name you met while on vacation. With digital photography, we at least have to say something to help identify pictures we save or post -- unless we leave them generic for years as they came out of our cameras and on to the computer.
1 person likes this
@ElicBxn (61189)
• United States
13 Dec 12
My parents labeled pix from my child hood - I don't generally take pix of people, but when I do... they are generally well known - like people on TV.
@heleighna (102)
• Philippines
9 Feb 13
I am not a professional photographer but i really want to learn a lot about photography. Taking photos is one my greatest joys. I've taken a lot of my daughter's photos since she was born and now she's 2, i look back with all all those photos and it makes me happy. It reminds me that i was there when she had her first tooth and when she had her first step when she learned to walk. It is happiness for me,and i know that someday she'll be happy to see those photos too. Her childhood photos.Yes i can say that it is a treasure, because we all have our treasured memories we want to look back as we grow old, and it is printed in photos. =)
1 person likes this
@bagarad (14283)
• Paso Robles, California
9 Feb 13
I know it was very meaningful to my own children to go back over their lives through as they looked at their photo albums and even added to them. In some ways I think it helps them make sense of their lives.
@KrauseHome (36637)
• United States
11 Jan 13
It is interesting how many people do take pictures, even before Digital and now with digital even more. I know my Mom took a lot of pictures all the time when we were growing up. I loved looking at them, and wish I had some of them now. Unfortunately some yrs. back my mom passed on, and I have no idea what ever happened with most of the pictures. As for your writing, etc. that is Cool. I do wish you the Best with all your ventures this yr.
1 person likes this
@bagarad (14283)
• Paso Robles, California
15 Jan 13
It's unfortunate that your mom's pictures are now lost to you. Today I was looking for a particular picture I wanted to use with an online article. I knew where I took it, but couldn't find the "event" in my photo organizer. So I started going through all the pictures I haven't put into albums (on my computer) yet. I have literally looked through hundreds of pictures before I found the Moonstone Beach batch that had the picture I wanted. I worked on finding it for about four hours. The good thing is that the search was so much fun that I forgot I was hungry so I didn't eat a snack. I hope your new year is getting off to a good start.
@bobmnu (8160)
• United States
18 Dec 12
T take photos for the Local School and Community events and for the local paper. Those I do for as part of my job for the paper. For personal photo I take them for pleasure and to use a s gifts. I have made several photo books for people as gifts. They are more convenient than a large photo album and can be used as a coffee table book which are easy to pick up and look through. I have also found some wallet size photo albums that H fill with photos and give to people. Using photos as a gift in a very personal thing and will shared over time.
1 person likes this
@bagarad (14283)
• Paso Robles, California
19 Dec 12
It sounds like you are using your photos to make very special gifts that will be treasured by the receivers. One of my most precious gifts was a scrapbook a friend made of photos of my son and memories people had written of him for people to look through after his memorial service. She made a special cover that expressed his personality, and I often look through this album to bring back the happy memories I have of him. Keep making those albums. I can't think of better gifts.
• Philippines
18 Dec 12
I dabble in photography but I'm not what you call "professional". I do try to come out with artistic photos following the basics of photography. However, the bottom line for taking photos is to capture life moments that I can look back to and remember the good old days. Advance Merry Christmas to you and your family!
@bagarad (14283)
• Paso Robles, California
19 Dec 12
You sound a bit like me. I'm no pro, but I've still been able to earn a few dollars by using the pictures I take to illustrate online writing and making products on print on demand sites like Zazzle. I also use my pictures to help me study nature by documenting changes in plants.
@Rick1950 (1583)
• Lima, Peru
16 Dec 12
I usually don't take pictures although pictures are used a lot in my job. Inclusive in the past years I have worked by preparing films for the printing industry. But, as you know, the way how photos will be make has changed completely. Today photos are digital. Film won't be used anymore and Kodak has closed his doors. I think that today it is easily to take photos and there are different devices with them you can make pictures. Probably it is cheaper to do this, because you don't need to pay for film, although you must have a computer. Anyway people make photos more easy than before. The reason why they do it, is that they want to have memories from different events in life and they want also to share this moments with friends or others. The existence of the networks has made that people can communicate on a different way and almost with the whole world. Maybe photos help to communicate better to each other and perhaps this is also another reason why people make photos. I'd like to wish you merry Christmas too. Blessings.
@bagarad (14283)
• Paso Robles, California
17 Dec 12
You're right that taking good pictures is much easier today than it used to be, and you can see how they have turned out as soon as you take them. It is more economical, too, since most people do have computers now, and there are cameras in all the phones people carry around. It's much easier to get candid shots that are memorable if you always have a camera with you.
@zandi458 (28116)
• Malaysia
15 Dec 12
Hello it has been such a long time that I last read your discussion. I do understand your many commitments in the real world as I am also in similar situation that deprived me of time with mylot. I may not be a keen photographer but I do take my camera when i go on holidays. I think many people now are into photography as I noticed my bothers and sons are comparing their new cameras and showing off the sharp shots they have taken with their new found toys. Maybe it is partly due to the influence of fb that create this new wave of passion in taking pictures for uploading in fb and collecting. 'Likes' from global friends. Whatever it is photography is a well worth hobby to pursue. My advance Christmas greetings to you and have a blessed new year.
1 person likes this
@bagarad (14283)
• Paso Robles, California
16 Dec 12
Zandi, I agree that many people take more photos now because they have someone outside the family to share them with easily. It's also become more economical to share photos, too, since before you had to print out each copy you gave away, and that got expensive. Now you either post your pictures on line for the whole family or select friends to view. I still think that some important pictures should be printed and put in an album for the home to be enjoyed by many people at once or anyone when he's in the mood. Merry Christmas to you, too.
@JenInTN (27536)
• United States
14 Dec 12
I am not near as picture crazy now as I used to be but I regret that sometimes. I think that for me it's nice to look back on memories and sometimes I can pull off a good enough picture to blow up and frame. Hope you are feeling better now. Happy holidays to you too and take care.
1 person likes this
@bagarad (14283)
• Paso Robles, California
15 Dec 12
Thanks, Jen. I am feeling like myself again and looking forward to the Christmas trip I almost nixed. Still don't know how we'll pay for it, but just hoping God provides. Many happy snapshots over the holidays for you.
@peavey (16980)
• United States
13 Dec 12
I don't take photos of people so much any more (don't know why) but I used to and I'm glad of it. When I pull out the old shoebox full of unsorted photos, the memories are there. When the kids were little, the house we used to live in, a dog long gone to doggie heaven, brothers and sister, Mom and Daddy who have long since departed this earth, trips we took and more. I don't often stop to think about those things, but they're the bricks that my life has been built of. It make me remember who I am and why.
1 person likes this
@bagarad (14283)
• Paso Robles, California
14 Dec 12
I think you hit the nail on the head. Pictures make us remember who we are and how we got to be who we are. Wonderful insight.
@savypat (20219)
• United States
13 Dec 12
If I ever thought it was important to keep all those old pictures before, I have a very important reason now. Hubby's short term memory is failing fast and he spends hours going over the past, all of the family pictures are a wonderful find for him. He has pictures from before, when his parents were small, in the late eighteen hundreds. I must say they have held up well with age, of course they are nothing like what we can get today.
@bagarad (14283)
• Paso Robles, California
14 Dec 12
You just reminded me of how the pictures were when my mom found out she had only a few weeks left to live. She was able to go back through her pictures and remember all the people she had loved and who had loved her, many of whom passed before she did. In a way it was part of her preparation to die. Thanks for sharing this. I never would have thought of it.
@wolfie34 (26789)
• United Kingdom
13 Dec 12
When I was younger I was taking photos all the time, I did a lot of travelling when I was young and would have the memories in my album, but then I started to collect albums and I never seemed to have time to spend going through them, when I moved about six times they became too bulky so I got rid of most of them, I only kept one album of special photos. Then I got a digital camera and would download them to my computer, because I had forgotten to back up the computer, the computer had to be replaced and I lost all my photos and memories, but I still had them in my head and I could memorize places I had been to, after that I kinda lost interest in taking photos.
1 person likes this
@bagarad (14283)
• Paso Robles, California
14 Dec 12
I'm sorry you lost so many photos. I'm glad you at least have some left that are special to you in that album. I find when I look through my photos from years back, I see things I'd forgotten and would not want to permanently forget. I remember again people and places that were once special to me better than I can in just my memory -- especially those I can't remember anymore without the visual assist.
@bostonphil (4468)
• United States
13 Dec 12
Nice to see you posting. It seems that it has been a while. I take pictures for more than one reason. First, the memories. Then, I also love to create online albums to share with others. Sometimes, pictures take on more significance as years go by. People age and then pass. Communities change. You might take a picture of a building or landmark that will later be destroyed in a disaster or get torn down. I like to remember and I like to share. While I am not a Christian, I do celebrate Christmas, in my own way. I celebrate lots of holidays. In an uncertain world, one can never celebrate the gift of life enough. Right now, I am watching the 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief and enjoying a warm eggnog.
1 person likes this
@bagarad (14283)
• Paso Robles, California
13 Dec 12
I find myself also taking pictures of buildings that I suspect might be torn down for the same reason. I guess we both have a bit of the historian in us. I don't create many albums on line since I suspect few people besides me will care about them. I have a few on Facebook because some of my real friends are there, but I don't post a lot of pictures there. I use most in my writing or send pictures I take of people to them to use themselves. I hope the concert raises lot of money and that you are enjoying it. As you say, life is precious.
@pomwango (1353)
• Kenya
20 Dec 12
i am not a professional photographer but i enjoy taking photos so much.the digital era has helped because now i just download on my lap top and only print out what i need.i never go to functions without my camera.i guess what i enjoy most is the memories.when we have time as a family we go through the pics and laugh at how funny we looked when younger or how much we have changed,i think the memory phptps hold is very great.
@bagarad (14283)
• Paso Robles, California
21 Dec 12
As has often been said, a picture is worth a thousand words, and the pictures bring back our memories more vividly than words do, in most cases. Just remember to write down what those pictures mean and who's in them and the occasions, so that those not included, who come after you, won't be in the dark. You are helping to document your family's history.