I was watching a movie last night, and a line spoken in the film stopped me in my tracks. I rewound the film and observed the same line expressed four more times before continuing the film.
“We take pictures to stop time. We are preservationists.”
Stopping time has always been something that I have struggled with as someone who has spent his entire life trying to be an artist. Am I making art or am I documenting a piece of history? Can they both be done at the same time? How do my photographs impact other people? Do my pictures have to be interesting? Do people have to like them or give them heart shape smashes to be able to find worth in what I am doing? Do I measure myself in my social media popularity or do I weigh myself by providing for my family and doing something that I love?
I would imagine for many the answers would be different. Personally, I take a lot of pride in realizing that a photograph will have about 300-year shelf life. It will be important to you, your parents, your kids, your grandkids and if you are lucky your great-grandchildren. It is why we should print our images. It is why being a photographer comes with a lot of responsibility. It is why professional photography cost money. It is why I wanted to become a filmmaker and why I am happy I accidentally ended up becoming a photographer.
300 years is a long time. What is your why?