How We Photograph Is How We Live

Some years ago I stumbled across the phrase “how you do anything is how you do everything”. It took me a while to fully absorb and understand what it might mean, as surely we behave differently in different circumstances due to a wealth of variables?

But when I looked closer (and as I got older) I realised it became more and more true.

For example, for a long time I saw my day job as something temporary and to be suffered until I was somehow financially independent by other, more noble means.

So the work I did, I gave little thought to once outside of that work environment.

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This doesn’t mean I was slapdash or shirked whilst working. It just meant that I didn’t give this area of my life much contemplation or analysis.

But now when I consider where I am with my day job, and how I work day to day, there are approaches and patterns that are very similar to other parts of my life.

Including photography.

When I photograph, I would describe my manner and approach as focused, methodical, steady, attentive, open and relaxed yet engaged and determined.

Which is how I am in my day job. Or how I make my lunch. Or rake up leaves in the front garden. Or watch a film. Or edit photographs. Or even how I shower, or am with my wife in close moments.

How I photograph, is how I live.

How about you? How do you photograph, and is it similar to how you do everything else?

Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

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13 thoughts on “How We Photograph Is How We Live”

  1. It sounds like a true thing. I would add, not only HOW we photograph but inportantly also WHAT we photograph shows WHO we are.

  2. Umm… yes. Generally completely spontaneous experiments with outbreaks of pleasant surprise.
    Fits me well I’d say.

    1. Marc, I think that approach, whilst sounding a bit cynical perhaps, is actually very sensible. Like that old saying that bands have – “we just went out to make music we love, and if anyone else likes it, it’s a bonus”.

  3. I’m not a serious photographer, but I think what you say is true of most things–for better and for worse: Who we are comes through in everything we do. Still, for me there are exceptions. With photography, good enough is good enough. Writing though? I take it seriously (the way I don’t take my photography) and good enough isn’t good enough. I re-read, re-read again, and edit and re-edit.

  4. First, I’m not a photographer but an artist, mostly working with digital imagery (but have been a watercolourist), and because of health issues (mostly lack of energy) I have to push myself hard to do things, and I tend to focus all my energy and attention on one thing at a time – often to the exclusion of other stuff. Now – the question is, do I apply that to all things? Er… yes and no. In the past year or so, I’ve been trying to slow down to match my low energy levels so that when I do have the wherewithal I can actually use it! When I create, I put all my energy into it or don’t do it at all. Today’s been one of the ‘don’t do it at all’ days, as I tried to do some colouring and couldn’t, just kept having to close the program. Not sure if that answers anything or not?

    1. Thanks Val for your in depth comments.

      I was just talking with Bear on his blog (https://cornishbearsphotos.com/) about this, or rather he was talking about his own struggles with energy levels. You might a common denominator there. Plus he’s been experimenting with more abstract photography lately, which I would say is more like painting with the camera than straightforward photography. Very interesting approach.

      I think we all need to be sensible with how much we try to do, everyone has limited time, energy, attention, one way or another. I’d rather do less and do it better than skim over a dozen things and not do any of them with full attention.

      1. Yes, I came over from Bear’s blog (haven’t commented there yet – needed to cook dinner) . He’s got MS, me I’ve had this all my life but it’s got worse in recent years. You’re right that it’s better to do less rather than not use our full attention on things.

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