Chris J Wilson

Krakow Street photographer

5 Why photography Questions

Krakow man down hole

Recently David Barrett shared a post called “ask why” where he answered five why questions that are important for photographers (and street togs) to think about. I asked him If I could rip him off and he agreed. I’ve adapted these questions a bit for myself.

1. Why bother taking pictures ?

I remember being interested in photos when I was a kid and I’ve had a camera of some sort since then. First it was a series of cheap disposable cameras, then an APC film camera (remember those!) then a cheap cannon digital camera which I used in Ukraine, then a smartphone and finally my current mirrorless cameras. I liked capturing moments of life, memories of places and sharing my world with family who weren’t around.

I think the main reason would be that I enjoy taking pictures, that’s why I take pictures. Now I find it therapeutic and I’ve recently used it to help calm my mind as it has been misbehaving again. As such I’m staying in the best mental health that I have been for a long time.

2. Why should I shoot Street Photography?

I’ve written about my own reasons for shooting street photography before but I’d say that there are three reasons that you should shoot street.

  • You can shoot street at any point (all you need is a public space)
  • It is difficult to do well and will hone your skills in different areas
  • People are interesting and make great subjects.

There are probably some other personal reasons you might have for shooting street photography, but I think these are three universal reasons that everyone who take photos should at least give it a go.

3. Why do I shoot everything in colour ?

I don’t shoot EVERYTHING in colour, but I shoot about 80% in colour. It started as a way to be different from all those other folk who shoot in black and white (especially amateurs. I find that the majority of fellow wannabes shoot with a 150mm lens, poor separation, of someone’s back and in black and white. I have deliberately tried to go the opposite way from that).

However, I also find colour can add a level of emotion that misses from Black and white. Don’t get me wrong, black and white can be extremely powerful, with a focus on shape and texture, but an image with a strong red image evokes such different emotions. Colour opens more options for me.

4. Why do I share pictures on-line ?

I’ve been struggling with this question more and more. If I’m going to be completely honest, I share images to feel good about myself from the likes and praise people offer. If I want to sound good, I’d say it’s about getting the critical feedback (very few people actually offer true critical feedback, thank you if you do).

For these reasons I’ve been sharing photos less. I haven’t shared anything on Instagram for a while but I’m considering sharing in a different way. Maybe I’ll avoid looking at the likes people give, or maybe I should just accept it as it is.

So at the moment I’m not really sharing images online, maybe I’ll change that soon but we’ll see.

5. Why am I buying MORE Photo-Books ?

David said he was getting fewer photobooks but I’m actually buying more. I find them inspiring and a way to see the world from someone else’s perspective. Of course, this isn’t the cheapest thing in the world so I’m probably going to look for more minimalist ways to check hold of photobooks like borrowing, lending and sharing.

What about you?

Why don’t you answer these questions as well and link to David’s post. I’d love to see what your reasons are.

Also published on Medium.

About Chris Wilson

I'm an English as a Foreign Language teacher in Krakow, Poland in my spare time I love taking photos. This is my blog.

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2 Replies

  1. Interesting answers, Chris, most of which are similar to my own thinking. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I think many of us will have pretty similar thoughts on some of these ideas. I think it’s really good to revisit these questions every now and again and see how our answers change over time (if they change even).

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