Thursday, August 20, 2009

What Is Your Passion?

"Photography is only a tool, a vehicle, for expressing or transmitting a passion in something else." - David Hum, On Being A Photographer
I read the above quote in an issue of Outdoor Photographer several years ago and it immediately stuck with me. In reflection, I could see myself in those words. It is as much capturing something I find captivating as it is the thrill of seeing the results that motivates me. In effect, my photographic subjects are my passion.

Words are fascinating. I once heard them defined as visual containers. Each word builds within our minds a picture of what it contains. If I say "dog", you get one mental image. If I say, "enormous smelly black dog", you get another. Well, the word "passion" implies desire, fervor, and zeal, amongst other things. My desire, the things I am most fervent about, show up in my images.

Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly
Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly

But desire just by itself is not enough. You must have knowledge as well. Knowledge by itself is not enough either. There has to be desire. Knowledge alone is boring. If a young child is sent to do a chore, they often go grumbling. They know how to do the chore, but they don't want to do it. But take that same chore and give them the desire to do it, whether that is to see the parent pleased or just to satisfy themselves as to their ability, and the chore is done quicker and better.

Each of us is different in thought. That is part of what makes life more interesting. Any plans that would attempt to make us all the same, do not get my vote. Whereas I choose to photograph dragonflies or butterflies or even spiders, you might choose architecture, or news photography, or cultural images. I can appreciate people who make wedding photographs. But frankly, the thought of doing that myself "gives me the willies". Wedding photography is definitely not my passion.


So stop now and ask yourself, "What is my passion? What do I really want to photograph?" then go out and capture it! And if your passion for one thing suddenly seems to wane, don't be afraid to find a new one. There is nothing wrong with switching gears. A couple of years ago, I made a lot of landscape images. I still love beautiful landscapes, but because I don't get out quite as often, I have found new desire in the objects around me in my garden. In part, I created this passion by planting the flowers which enticed the insects, and then by spending hours of my time in observation. My photographs reflect my efforts to further my passion.

Ultimately, my job is to make great photographs of what I am the most fervid about and to share them in a creative way with you. That is photography. And that is what I am most passionate about.

Giant Swallowtail Butterfly
Giant Swallowtail Butterfly

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Suzanne Williams Photography
For More Of My Words
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.


Terri Tiffany said...

It's so important to follow our passions--and knowing what they are and getting the knowledge to do them. I love your pictures! You really do know how to take them!

home exchange said...

I really like the way that you've captured the butterfly. It's very focused and I like the contrast with the fuzzy grass in the background!