Photography - why we do it

We explore the appeal that makes us as photographers continue to want take photos.

Have you ever questioned why you actually take pictures? What drives you to get out there with your camera?

For some of us it’s a simple as capturing moments and memories - images with can look back on and laugh and smile at. For others it’s all about telling a story, anything from a personal project to a much wider issue.

For landscape photographer Anita Nicholson, this is one of the reasons that inspired her to pick up a camera. “I grew up on my Grandad’s tales of adventure from when he was in the Merchant Navy – he loved the sea and he was passionate about all of the amazing places he visited and the people he met along the way. My love for the sea and sense of adventure comes from him, he inspired me to explore more and he bought me my first camera. He also told a great story, and this is something I try to do in my photography, to tell the story of a place.”

Image courtesy of Anita Nicholson © -

Ideas and emotions

For a lot of us enthusiasts though it’s also about communicating with others, about expressing ourselves, conveying ideas and emotions. Again, this is another element of Anita’s photography. “I’ve always loved exploring the great outdoors and enjoy the fantastic variety of landscapes we have in Great Britain”, reveals Anita, “which is in no small part down to our complex geology – I’m a Geographer so am fascinated by the underlying rocks that shape our very special island”. It’s this love that sees Anita use her photography to not only enable her to capture and share how beautiful our landscape is, but to also open our own eyes up even more fully to see how wonderful our natural environment is.

Image courtesy of Matt Hart © -

Adrenalin rush

Perhaps though it’s the immense satisfaction of achieving a shot we’re really satisfied with. “If I had to choose one thing that I loved above all else about photography it is the adrenalin rush and total absorption in the moment that storm chasing can bring”, says Anita. “The drama of the weather, the intensity of the colours in the sky and in the landscape during a big storm, and the rush to try and get ahead of the weather before ultimately getting soaked to the skin, it’s all an absolute buzz and highly addictive!”  

Street and event photographer Matt Hart feels just as strongly. “Photography for me is more of an addiction than anything else,” explains Matt. “I think about taking or making photographs 24/7, I even dream about new locations or new ideas to keep myself going. If I don't go out and shoot as much as I can, I almost get withdrawal symptoms! It’s like the whole process releases happy endorphins in to my body like chocolate so I just have to have my daily dose.” 

Sometimes though, it’s what photography gives back to us. “Through photography, I've been very lucky to meet lots of lovely people and to have opportunities I'd never have dreamed of,” Anita reveals, “like writing for hiking and photography magazines, it's been a real journey of discovery and I'm very grateful to photography for it.”    

  • By Gareth Cox
  • 24 Jun 2016

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