Wednesday, March 5, 2014


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?


  1. Dear Dianne, Thank you for your lovely blog on "Why photograph?". I suppose the larger question is "Why create?". Carl Jung believes that one of our five instincts is Creativity. It wasn't until I was 28 years old that I purchased my first camera. I had always been in awe of photography, but as an extremely shy child and young adult, I had no concept on what it meant to purchase something for myself that would open doors to self-expression and gain wonder in the world. I made a pact with myself at the time that I would never give up photography. And I've kept that word to myself. As I sat in front of my computer working on a photo montage in Photoshop, I realized that when it all "fits" there's a sort of gestalt - an inner tingling that delights my psyche. It's the same for me when writing a poem - photography is an affirming process, and I feel a sense of completion and accomplishment when the image comes together. After many years, I realize that I only need to please that part of my Self - not to win approval from others (although that had been a pattern for many years and very unhealthy for me as all). Teaching a beginning photography course many, many years ago gave me entry into the world of teaching. From there I went on to get certified and taught for many years. Not just photography, although I've always returned to that. Teaching runs in my family - as does ministry. That good old Lutheran side of my father's family was overshadowed by my Catholic upbringing on my mother's- which focused on the afterlife, rather than focusing and developing my talents while here on earth. I firmly believe that we all need a creative outlet (in this case photography) to strip our minds of excessive stuff we carry around. Working on photography or collage or writing focuses me in ways which nothing else does, and eliminates all the other chatter that barges in when I am not in my studio or working on a project. Yes, for me, doing photography and other artwork keeps me sane and keeps me growing as a person. There's a relationship that I develop with myself when I do my art, which is then carried to the other people in my life. I seem to be able to communicate with them more deeply and honestly. For after all, if I am honest with myself and do those creative things which deepen my relationship to my Self, my relationship to others deepens as well! Thanks for your question! Lisa

    1. Thank you for sharing Lisa! I love that something that appears so simple can have such a dramatic effect on us! Thank you again!