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Saturday Chat 24 / Saterdaggeselsie 24 : Why does photography matter?

Maree Clarkson Maree Clarkson 3990 posts

I have never regarded myself as a “photographer” – I mean, I would never put “Maree Clarkson, Artist, Naturalist and ‘Photographer’” in my resumé and I’ve never visited a photographic exhibition like I would visit an art exhibition. Sure, I love taking photographs, but it’s more a ‘record-keeping’ thing for me; which plant is flowering, what new bird is visiting my garden, when did one of my chickens lay her first egg. I would photograph something just because it’s beautiful and just use the default settings for the camera, not actually having a clue what’s going to appear.

And I’ve always wondered about people that have an absolute passion for photography, who choose it as a profession and who get to know their camera, how it works, which setting is for what and experimenting with their settings like I experiment with my watercolour paints.

So I decided to investigate this ‘phenomena’ and found this website that gives six reasons why photography matters.


I think this will do… by Qnita
Canon EOS 550D
f/5.6
Exposure Time 1/1600 sec.
ISO – 400
70-300mm F4-5.6 APO DG SIGMA MACRO LENS


1. Our photographs tell us what is important to us

When you ask people what possessions they would rescue from their burning house, one of the most frequent answers is the photograph album or a computer with their digital images. When in panic mode it’s interesting that we would probably grab photos rather than valuable jewelry. This impulse to save our recorded memories is a powerful force which tells us much about the role of photography in our lives and our constant desire to distil our most precious moments into images.


It’s hard work chasing after balls, you know… by Rina Greeff
Kamera: CanonEOS 500D


Sunrise in the Bushveld by Elizabeth Kendall
Canon PowerShot SX40 HS


OK, IT’S MY TURN NOW! by Magaret Meintjes
Camera Nikon D50


JESSIE !!! by NikonMan


portrait of a little family by Martina Stoecker
Pentax K200D, 55mm lens,f/4,1/90sec., ISO1600,

2. Photographs are part of our legacy

Photographs matter because they freeze moments of our lives which pass unremarkably and which seem to have little importance to us at the time. The significance, however, may be for others who search for the person we once were or the places we once knew. They can be small pieces of a jigsaw that complete the larger picture of our lives.


Lion’s Head from Table Mountain, Cape Town by Carole-Anne
Canon EOS, zoom lens.


Vergelegen Estate by Cameron B
Canon EOS 5dMkIII


Franskraal by Antionette
Canon EOS500D

3. Photographs allow us to share and to communicate.

Images are much more than a simple record. Photography speaks to the best and most generous part of our human nature – the desire to share what we find beautiful and interesting with others. You only have to look at Flickr and a multitude of photo sharing sites to see this impulse at work. Millions of people sharing their personal, passionate and sometimes quirky take on the world around them. Our images can involve a world of strangers in our life. How powerful is that?


Damselfly, March Bluetail. (Ischnura senegalensis) by Debby Townsend


Brighten up my day by Cameron B
Canon EOS 5dMkIII


Sunset curves by Graeme Mockler
Canon 5D mkII.


Miniature pansies by Elizabeth Kendall
Canon PowerShot SX40HS


A Devilishly Pretty Thief by sonoflite
Nikon D3100
55mm-300mm @ 250mm
iso 100


Mother Nature’s Christmas decorations/Moeder Natuur se kersversierings by Antionette
Camera Canon EOS 500D

4. Photography makes us artists

Photography allows us to express ourselves through an art form. We notice a beautiful landscape or an old man’s lined face and we want to capture it. Each of us will have a different reason to do so but, essentially, we want to create something. However humdrum our nine-to-five lives may be, the creation of an image makes us an artist. It feels good.


Slangkop Lighthouse by Pieta Pieterse


The Face of Experience by Graeme Hyde
Lumix DMC-FZ7


San (Bushman) Elder by Margaret Hyde
LUMIX DMC-TZ3


Kommetjie Sunset Views by Cameron B
Canon EOS 5dMkIII


Flamingo – Arusha National Park, Tanzania by Adrian Paul
Camera – Nikon D80; Lens – Tamron 28 -300 VC


Survival by Rina Greeff
Camera: CanonEOS 500D


Orange dusk by jozi1
canon rebel eos and 75 -300 mm lens


Bloeisels -perskeboom by Rina Greeff
Kamera hp photosmart 945

5. Photography is a complex language

Our images can express joy and sorrow, wonder and sympathy. Every human emotion can find a place in photography. For many years I never valued my photographs of overcast landscape because I believed that there was no beauty in a land with muted colours and a leaden sky. I wanted the land to be alive with colour and vibrancy. However, lack of colour in a landscape makes you search for other things that often go unremarked in bright sunlight. It could be a symmetry of hills or a tree standing out from a forest of thousands. I have suffered from depression for most of my adult life and photography gave me a language to express feelings for which I can find no words. We have a miserably poor vocabulary for mental illness and photography has allowed me to develop a visual language for some of the most difficult emotions.


Young Maasai Woman – Kenya, Africa by Bev Pascoe


Happy School Boy by Carole-Anne
Canon 500D, zoom lens.


Dreamy days by Karen01
Nikon D5000 and manual zoom


At the end of the road by Graeme Mockler


sunset on the Namib Desert by supergold
Panasonic lumix TZ 20

6. Photography has the power to move us

Photographs can grab our attention and speak directly to our emotions. Nick Ut’s photograph of a crying Vietnamese girl whose clothes have been burnt away by napalm embodies the power of a single image. At a more subtle level, we can learn lessons about a whole range of emotions. Grief has the power to wash away the luminance and chrominance of our lives. There is no magic way to restore them at will. We have to be patient. But while waiting we can search for the shapes and patterns that are still there in the greyness. They will lead us back to colour eventually. At moments of great sorrow in my life I have used images to express that hope of returning colour.


Blue Monkey,Lake Manyara, Tanzania by Adrian Paul
Camera – Nikon D80; Lens – Tamron 28-300 VC zoom


Just Married (Loxodonta) by Debby Townsend


Always Alert by Michael Moss
Canon 7D, Canon 400 DO with 1.4 extender, ISO 1600, 1/40 sec at f/5.6


Baby steps by Graeme Mockler


Lion’s Mimic by Henry Jager


The sweeper by AntonAlberts

Photography should make you happy. Never let someone impede on your personal happiness. You love HDRs and someone else doesn’t – who cares? You are enamored with landscapes but your friends think they’re droll – don’t let it bother you. You’re a fashion nut but no one gets your style – just keep being you. Enjoy your photography for what it is – your own. Know that not everyone will appreciate it, but if it personally fulfills you, that’s all that truly matters. Be true to yourself and you’ll never regret a day of your life.

(Ek vra om verskoning dat hierdie Saterdaggeselsie net in Engels is, ek belowe dat ek een geselsie NET aan Afrikaans sal wy!)


Bellabok by Rina Greeff – Kamera hp photosmart 945

Cameron B Cameron B 38 posts

“Photography should make you happy. Never let someone impede on your personal happiness. You love HDRs and someone else doesn’t – who cares? You are enamored with landscapes but your friends think they’re droll – don’t let it bother you. You’re a fashion nut but no one gets your style – just keep being you. Enjoy your photography for what it is – your own. Know that not everyone will appreciate it, but if it personally fulfills you, that’s all that truly matters. Be true to yourself and you’ll never regret a day of your life.”

I think that part is very important. There are just soooo many different styles and genres of photography, there really is something for everyone and that helps photography be as popular as it is!!

Great article!

Maree Clarkson Maree Clarkson 3990 posts

Thank you Cameron! The old saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is so very, very true and, as they say, "You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”. lol!

Elizabeth Kendall Elizabeth Kendall 2640 posts

Maree, you have outdone yourself!! I enjoyed this excellent Saturday Chat so much….every single wonderful English word in it.

Why is it that when I read English it sounds so easy, but when I have to speak it, I must think first (between you and me… lol!)

I love photography and think this “chat” needs to be read by many more people…thanks so very much!! I am going to share it on fb! ;-)

Maree Clarkson Maree Clarkson 3990 posts

Thank you Elizabeth! I know how passionate our members are about photography and thanks to the wonderful images that are constantly submitted, I was TOTALLY inspired to find out what fuels all those wonderful photographs!

Antionette Antionette 1036 posts

Thanks for this wonderful chat Maree, loved every word of it, because I love photography, and my camera is the part that fits in between my eye, my hand and my heart – saying in a picture what I see, feel, hear and observe.

Rina Greeff Rina Greeff 511 posts

What a wonderful article, Maree!! Luckily there will always be something someone likes from one’s work. Macro photography has opened the wonderful world of ‘small’ things in nature for me; others might again prefer looking at the ‘big’ picture!

NikonMan NikonMan 565 posts

Thank you Maree for sharing this with us and all the precious time and hard work you put into it , BAIE DANKIE !

Irene  van Vuuren Irene van Vuuren 163 posts

This display is absolutely stunning. The chat is so inspiring. Thanks so much Maree! Congratulations to all the contributors here. You are making a contribution to LIFE!

Margaret  Hyde Margaret Hyde 8476 posts

Excellent presentation Maree. Graeme and I have a love of photography which also includes the photos which have been handed down to us through the generations allowing us to have one wall in our house showing four generations of our families. One of my Welsh cousins, who I have only met three times, recently visited Australia and his first question was "did you bring any photos?’

Pieta Pieterse Pieta Pieterse 248 posts

Dankie Maree, die fotografie eienskappe was leersaam en interessant. En die foto’s pragtig! Jy het baie moeite gedoen – dankie!

Maree Clarkson Maree Clarkson 3990 posts

My pleasure Antionette, and maybe one day I will go on that “Canon” course! Smile!

Maree Clarkson Maree Clarkson 3990 posts

Thank you Rina! I also like macro photography as I just cannot seem to get my zoom lens mastered! Your macros are totally inspiring as well as the information and details you supply with your lovely photographs, thanks for that!

Maree Clarkson Maree Clarkson 3990 posts

Thank you Dennis, pleased you enjoyed it!

Maree Clarkson Maree Clarkson 3990 posts

Thank you Irene! I just wish I could have placed more photographs, such beautiful and inspirational entries into our group!

Maree Clarkson Maree Clarkson 3990 posts

Thank you Margaret. I think that question “did you bring any photos?” sums it all up! A ‘photographic’ journey of our life to share with generations to come. How wonderful that you have a whole wall dedicated to memories! And through photography your travels have also been documented for ever, giving those who view it some insight into the rest of the world!

Maree Clarkson Maree Clarkson 3990 posts

Bly jy het dit geniet en dankie vir die inloer Pieta!

Macky Macky 1224 posts

Maree, I think you sold yourself short here, you could have included Sunday :-)

Dankie, baie dankie!!

Maree Clarkson Maree Clarkson 3990 posts

:-) Thank you Macky, must make a plan next time!

Elizabeth Kendall Elizabeth Kendall 2640 posts

Moes dit net weer kom geniet het….dit IS immers Saterdag!

Maree Clarkson Maree Clarkson 3990 posts

Dankie Elizabeth, dalk moet ons dit ELKE Saterdag doen! lol!

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