The Secondary Passion
Are you passionate about photography? You must be, or you would not be reading this column. Passion can be a fickle bedfellow because it is a fire that cannot exist without its fuel and spark. Ask any well-known photographer about the singular reason for their success and they will tell you that their achievements have rested on their ability to express personal vision. They will say that they practise photography only to please themselves and that they accomplish all that they do because they are passionate about it. However, if you dig deeper, you will find that this reason has nothing to do with photography, to begin with. Some do it because they love diving. Others do it because they are fond of travel. Yet others do it because they enjoy being in the midst of nature.
Photography distinguishes itself from other forms of art because it is a relatively young medium, partially derived from a scientific need to document accurately. In this, it is very different from music, painting or some of the older art forms that immediately address a more natural, pressing… an almost banal need for self-expression. The use of photography as a tool to simply express oneself came much later.
A few months ago, if you had asked me what I liked most about photography, I would have said that I enjoyed the act of releasing the shutter. My answer would be very different now. The word ‘act’ for an ‘actor’ can also mean a representation of something original, a dramatisation… something that mimics reality but is not real.
So, are you passionate about photography? Wouldn’t you rather let the photography remain the science with which you explore something you are really passionate about? The lives of some of the greatest legends in photography will stand testimony to the fact that photography follows passion and not the other way around.
Of course, as I have stated before, the truth for me can be very different from the truth for you, but a honest answer to that question needs to be outside of the ‘act’.