Art For Whose Sake?

In a recent post on social media I admitted to at times feeling discomfort with the routine of posting images and the drawing of attention to myself. A couple of replies stated that I should look at it more as a showcase of nature rather than a showcase of Chris Murray. I understand what they’re saying and agree that for many photographers that is how they view their work, as a celebration of the beauty of nature and a vehicle for sharing it with others. I look at it in an entirely different way.

A question I sometimes pose to myself is, why do I do this? It’s a seemingly easy question to answer, which is why it’s surprising that I struggle with finding the words to express why. I do love nature, so that has something to do with it. I also love the act of creating something that hadn’t existed before, and wouldn’t were it not for my own unique (twisted?) mind. With the creative process comes a focus and mindfulness that is not present in my life otherwise. Ultimately, however, I view it as an act of personal expression, a way of communicating how I see the world. In the end I do it for me. First and foremost my images represent my thoughts and feelings, with nature serving as the inspiration. I am not interested in literally documenting the natural scene, there are countless other photographers doing that beautifully. Providing the same types of images would add nothing to the conversation. My hope is that my photos say as much if not more about me rather than what’s in front of the lens.

I am not a believer in art for art’s sake, I do think art can have a meaning or purpose. If my images can be used for conservation purposes (and some of them are) then all the better. Just as important to me is that they connect with the viewer and evoke the same emotions as they do in me. Even better is that my images serve to inspire others. My art exists to enrich not only my life, but hopefully the lives of those willing to appreciate it.

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