You don’t want to die

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    • #430519

      A few years ago, I worked with Erica Harrison on the First Lighters newsletter (the business of photography).

      Now she’s super smart and highly trained in psychology. We chatted about that and photography all the time.

      But something she said stuck with me when we were talking about the philosophy of why people take photos.

      She said, very definitely, “Photographers take photographs because they don’t want to die.”

      It wasn’t even up for debate for her. She was adamant (from a psych perspective). The not wanting to die thing is a very prominent idea in psychology theory.


      Why do you take photos?

    • #430520

      Well, Rob, two years before retired (chose to), at the age of 65, I decided I should take up a hobby for retirement that met two criteria. One was that it should be creative …… and the other something that I could still do and enjoy if I reach the age of 80+. My choice of photography was just the greatest thing ever (12 years on). My skill at post-editing has continued to evolve … but my actual taking the pics, lags a bit. I have therefore started recently to spend more time, research and effort into the actual taking.

      One thing that I had not envisaged, which is a huge plus, is that my interest in event and travel photography would be high. This means we have more adventures – some recent have been Diwali (of course); hot air balloons; visit to the Red Centre of Australia – Uluru, Alice Springs, etc ; Steampunk rally; other festivals and shows. So it was a great choice! 😀

    • #430568
      Steve Walker

      I think most, and certainly I, do photography to put us in touch with creativity— to feel part of the creative process that by its very nature transcendent of time and space. It doesn’t make us immortal but it does allow us to touch a quality that is not as finite as we are, which is sort of but not quite the same thing.

    • #430612

      Photography feeds the curious, playful child in me. It also forces me to slow down (face it, you can’t be in a rush when you are capturing an image) and often, it connects me to nature. It connects me with other people, as well. It is the best therapy around. So, with all these health benefits, it is probably extending my life span. No one wants to die, really, but will photography make us immortal? I say it simply ensures I will enjoy life more.

    • #430625

      For me it’s mostly about slowing down and taking time to observe something, whatever that is. Photography has a certain meditative quality that helps me reduce stress or depression. Since my mental health isn’t really great, photography has been a wonderful ”natural” sort of medication.

    • #430649
      John Thompson

      I do it mainly to get myself out and about in nature.  I think Jasenka hit on it saying “it is about slowing down and taking time to observe”.  That is the main reason that indoor or portrait photography has not interested me much.

      It is a great way to occupy time for us pensioners, doing something creative.

    • #430656
      Erik Fransman

      “Photographers take photographs because they don’t want to die.”

      Rob, I am not trained in psychology, but I know, I don’t want to die (yet).
      One would think that statement is true for most people if they are healthy, both physically and mentally and have a reasonably comfortable life.

      But that’s theory. If you look at how most people live in our western society, you see that this statement is not true at all. We eat unhealthily (bad fat and sugar), drink (too much) smoke, (check all applicable). These are all slow killers but the “gratification” it gives immediately, is more important than the long term sure death. I do not think photography can solve that. (Going twice a week to the gym is not solving that either 🙂 )

      In the professional world, you often see filmmakers (cameramen/women) en photographers taking huge risks to get a shot.
      I don’t understand that. It definitely does not fit in the category, we make photo’s because we don’t want to die.  No shot is worth dying for.

      Why do I make photos? Storytelling through images is my job and I also just like to do it. For me, it’s as simple as that.

    • #430662
      Kent DuFault

      Honestly, I wanted to be a cartoonist. But, I couldn’t draw worth a dang. Then I discovered photography.

      • #430672

        There has always been a drive in me to be creative ( i think we all have this ) from an early age i have been fighting with Social anxiety and depression when i was out wandering the hills and forest it was the only time and place i felt like i was the real ME , This helped me to have a lifelong love for the the landscape and the nature within it.

        City living is not in my nature, too fast , too much noise for me.

        Like Kent i tried learning to draw i bought many courses , a decent drawing tablet and spent years enjoying works from the master landscape painters wishing i could create such things , i tried pencil drawing , digital drawing and painting

        I failed , i just couldn’t push myself to set aside the time required each day to improve my drawing.

        On 14th may 2019 my dog passed away this came out of the blue at the time , i lost both my parents a few years before this happened  – Getting the dog was to have some company as i lived on my own ,  He helped me cope with all what was going on – Once he passed i felt that spiral and the dark times starting to kick in … i bought my camera about 5 weeks before my dog passed and when , after the shock of my dog being no longer with me i started to use my camera and i have not looked back since and can only say making photos has changed me and my outlook on life for the better.

        I can create more with a camera than i could with a pencil and i get to see and meet some lovely folk along the way .. Everyone’s a winner  😉

        Finding LS and the people that make up it’s community was the icing on the cake for me.

        Thanks for reading.

        • #430676
          Kent DuFault

          That is a moving story, Pat. I’m glad you found photography and it helps you.

          • #430702

            Thanks very much Kent , i found it and i’m not letting go …  i feel like one of the lucky ones when i see what others need to go through daily , thanks for your comments mate ;).

        • #430738

          Thanks so much for sharing your story! I haven’t been on the exact same journey but I can really sympathize with your feelings.

          Oh, and keep up the good work 🙂

          • #430767

            All good mate 😉 thanks for that.

    • #430668
      Rob Eyers

      I wasn’t going to comment, but here goes.

      It’s been said that “there are some things so stupid that only an intellectual could believe them”.

      Speaking for myself, photography satisfies my creative side(be it as small as it is), and my desire to always be learning. It keeps me busy(a personal necessity), and is transportable, which fits my interest in travel. The fact that it doesn’t have to be too physically demanding will also fit well as I age. Simply put…I like it.

      “Photographers take photographs because they don’t want to die.”  Absolute piffle and balderdash.


    • #430689
      Erik Fransman

      For not native English members:
      Balderdash and Piffle are synonyms.

      Balderdash noun – Language, behavior, or ideas that are absurd and contrary to good sense.
      Usage example: a combat veteran himself, he could not believe the balderdash he was hearing from whippersnappers with no war experience at all

      Piffle is a synonym for balderdash in knowledge topic. In some cases you can use “Piffle” instead the word “Balderdash” as a noun or a verb, when it comes to topics like nonsense

      • #430690
        Rob Eyers

        Thank you very much Erik. My bad. I didn’t consider the audience enough.

    • #430703
      Graham Hart

      I crafted a response to this thread yesterday. Submitted it, found a typo error so clicked the edit button to fix the error then hit submit again only to lose the whole thing? Aaaargh!

      So here’s v2.0;

      “Photographers take photographs because they don’t want to die.” Well I gotta say, everytime I come home from a ‘shoot’ and download the raw files into the computer a little part of me dies every time I see all the crap that I took.

      Photography is like a drug. There’s all the excitement and anticipation before the shutter is even pressed and then the massive comedown when I fail yet again to achieve what I try to do. Occassionally, it’s the discovery of that one keeper which makes the whole day’s effort worthwhile and makes me go back for more.

      I think any creative endeavour comes from a deep desire to leave a mark on this world, a legacy of our existence. It’s another way of saying “Leroy Was here”.

      Like Pat and Kent, I’ve tried my hand at several creative things in life. Drawing, playing music, writing poetry etc. Just prior to photography, I really wanted to try my hand at painting. Bought a heap of gear to get started then sat and stared at a blank canvas for ages thinking “Hmm, there’s more to this than I thought”! It was only through a gift of camera gear from my brother in law that I found what I’d been looking for all along. Instead of charcoal or words or paint I use pixels to create. Modern technology has unleashed the creative side of me that has been waiting to emerge from the shadows.

      I still have a long way to go though. I’ve been through pre-school (Auto setting), still stumbling through primary school (Aperture priority), visited high school once or twice (Shutter priority), sneaked onto University campus (Program mode) but got kicked out straight away and at this stage a PHd (manual mode) looks ever more distant as I still don’t know what my major will be (I’m thinking Street though).

      As Rob said, it’s the learning that I crave and that keeps me going. Might turn out to be a lifelong professional student the way I’m going 🙂

      • #430708
        Kent DuFault

        You’re doing exceptionally if you ask me.

    • #430712
      Robert Apple

      Hmm , sounds so philosophical,  the reality of living longer is you constantly get to improve upon the amount of physical pain you can endure each day,  I Don’t know a single senior that wouldn’t agree with this, it’s a fact of getting old.

      I take pictures because I enjoy it, simple as that, if you don’t enjoy it why the hell are you wasting your time, you only got so much before you die. 😗

    • #430799
      Graham Hart

      After several tries to post replies on this and another thread, my reply always shoots to the bottom of the page instead of attaching to the image I was replying to. Anyone else getting this issue?

      Anyhoo, thanks Kent for your comment…too kind. Robert, pain is my middle name and your right, the older we get the more we seem to be able to deal with it. I have an as-yet unidentified muscle wasting condition which has made walking a painful experience for me these past few years but when I’m out taking photos, usually carrying more gear than I need to, the pain dissolves away from my mind and I can walk for hours.

      Photography is therapeutic for the body and the mind. That’s perhaps the secondary reason why I enjoy it. The first will always be the creative enjoyment it provides.

    • #430826

      About balderdash and piffle, it was nice to learn some new words 🙂

      I realized they both mean some sort of nonsense because of the spelling itself and the way they sound. Just like gibberish – you ”feel” it means something stupid.

    • #430886

      I was approaching retirement and wanted to take pictures so that I could draw them. In particular – ‘faces’ (I can’t call them portraits because to me they are not… they are a moment in time when I have captured ‘a face’).

      One night I was at a baseball game with what I call my beginner camera and a photographer let me take a picture with his stabilized 100-400mm lens. Needless to say I was in total awe of the qaulity of what I saw before my eyes (and this is before I clicked the shutter). And it started me on a journey of discovery (and depending on one’s perspective, expense) that I would never have envisioned.

      Although I still like ‘movement/action’ shots the most, I take pictures/make images of ‘whatever is in front of my nose’. As others have alluded to, the peace/quiet/tranquility of taking photos when one is ‘in the zone’ is uncomparable to other things in life.

      And if you’re wondering if I’m still drawing ‘faces’. Photography and other life choices take up too much time.

    • #431431

      I take photos because of a couple reasons.  First I like it, and two it helps me deal with my Depression and Anxiety as it help me focus on something other than those thoughts in my head.

    • #431441
      Bruce Gordon


      I would say I take photographs for many reasons. In an interesting way, I would turn your phrase around, and say I take photographs to remind myself to live. I share my work to remind others to do the same; to see life in a new way and to stop and seek beauty for themselves. Life seems so taken up with things that are made-up, unimportant and not real, and I see so many people who devote so much effort to this ‘un-reality.’ I photograph nature to force myself to exist outside our made up world; the world of work, consumption and conformity. To just BE, and to record the world being itself, in all its marvel. I photograph to save myself from a wasted life…

    • #431469

      “I photograph to save myself from a wasted life…”


      I think that’s what she was getting at…

    • #431629

      I take photographs because i am going to die.


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