on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Motivations in Landscape Photography

Fail until you get it right—by your own judgement

Guy Tal

Professional photographic artist, author and speaker working primarily in the Western US. Website



A photograph is the end product of someone caring about something ‘out there.’ The best photographs exude this caring attitude in a manner which is not definable, but which is very evident. ~Bill Jay

Our motivations precede anything we do, and not only in photography. In creative work, our motivations not only prompt us to create but also pervade and carry through every step of the creative process. Our motivations influence the choices we make, set the technical and ethical boundaries we set for ourselves, affect the rewards we experience and the ways we engage with our audiences.

Our motivations influence the choices we make, set the technical and ethical boundaries we set for ourselves, affect the rewards we experience and the ways we engage with our audiences.

In the last few years there has been a welcome flourishing of writings about the many and varied reasons why people photograph. Of course, not all reasons apply to all people and what may seem obvious or proper to some, maybe anathema to others. For example, I recall almost giving up on Robert Adams’s book, Why People Photograph, after reading the first page in which Adams proclaims that one’s own photographs are never enough, and that those who stick with photography do so in large part due to a sense of community. This has never been a consideration to me. In fact, photography as I practice it is satisfying to me in large part because its rewards, to me, are largely independent of the works and judgments of others. Then again, Adams also mentions dogs as a reason to photograph, which I relate to very much.



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