What is my "why"? It's a question I have heard asked in the context of business, creativity and just in general. Why do I do what I do?
The short answer is "I have no choice". The urge to create is so strong that when circumstances prevent me from doing some sort of photography, I get depressed, grumpy, tired, and basically, no fun to be around.
Nineteen years ago I had a darkroom in one of the bathrooms in my house and when we put it on the market I was instructed by our real estate agent to tear it down. Eager to sell and move, I did what I was told, but within days could feel myself withering like an old rose, slowly dropping it's petals. I was surprised to realize just how important photography had become.
During this time, I was so desperate to do something related to photography, (and simply "taking photos" was not enough), that I drove an hour away to purchase a Polaroid SX70 camera so I could at least do emulsion "smooshing". Good thing I did this, because it took six months to sell our house.
Another "why" is that photography opened my eyes and made me aware of my surroundings and continues to deepen my appreciation of the beauty that is all around. (This has also made me a terrible driver, because I am constantly "looking" while driving.)
|©2014 Dianne Poinski|
I also discovered early on that having this passion for photography helps when life get tough. Because of my genetic makeup, drinking alcohol or ingesting other "numbing" substances to take the edge off, is simply not an option for me. I am left to feel all my feelings......even when I don't want to. Having lost quite a few people I love in the last ten years, most of them to long and difficult diseases, I am so very grateful that I had something that helped take my mind off of the painful reality I was facing, even if it was only for a short time. Photography saved me.
Over the years, photography has connected me to so many wonderful and extremely talented artists. This began during my art festivals days, before the internet was a major force in our lives. Being able to connect online now with so many who share my "obsession", helps ease some of the isolation that can occur while working alone.
Making money however, is not one of my "whys". I am fortunate that I have been able to produce income with my images, but like so many of us, I am still trying to recover from the effects of the "Great Recession". Couple that with the tidal wave of technology and the increase in mass numbers of photographers, making money in this business cannot be a driving force. Some months, I am thrilled to just cover the costs of my "experiments".
This seems to bring me back to my number one reason for making art......"I have no choice".
What is your why?