Inside this issue
A Passion in Question
Discovering the artist within
Chris Murray is a full-time photographer, instructor, and writer from New York State. His photographs are not meant to be a literal document of the woods, mountains, and rivers of his home state, but rather a creative expression of his relationship with the places that ceaselessly inspire him.
I never liked photography. Not for the sake of photography. I like the object. I like the photographs when you hold them in your hand.~Robert Mapplethorpe
For some time, I have been questioning my love of photography. It seems an almost heretical thought to consider, given it’s what I do. Whether I call myself a photographer or a photographic artist, it’s what my life centres around. It has given my life purpose. And yet, I ask myself, do I love photography, or instead do I love what photography offers me? Is the act of photography nothing more than a means to an end rather than an end in itself?
Out of curiosity, I Googled the term “photography for photography’s sake,” a take on the classic “art for art’s sake” argument, a belief that art should exist independent of any utility. As expected, “photography for photography’s sake” means one makes photos because it is intrinsically rewarding and without regard for fame, popularity, or social media “likes.” Fair enough, those are all very poor and inadequate reasons for photography. Interestingly (and perhaps tellingly), no definition listed creativity or self-expression as possible outcomes of photography. Are those not much worthier reasons?
For years my wife and I have been planning a trip to Ireland. When the time comes, I plan on leaving the camera home. Aside from the burden of having to lug my equipment around, the photos I would make would be mostly superficial impressions of the Irish landscape. They would most likely be documentary in nature, objective representations of what I saw. How could they be anything but? I know nothing of Ireland other than what I’ve seen in photos.