Why do you take photos and what do you do with them?

hoping for insights into why people take photos and what they do with them for my PhD. If you’re happy to help, please leave a comment below with (a) Why you take photos? (b) What you do with photos you’ve taken?

Hi all. I am hoping for some insights into why people take photos and what they do with them. This is to inform some thinking and writing for my PhD. If you’re happy to help, please leave a comment below with

(a) Why you take photos? (b) What you do with photos you’ve taken?

Alternatively, tweet replies with #blendedmem. Any help greatly appreciated, all welcome to comment. Thanks!


17 thoughts on “Why do you take photos and what do you do with them?”

  1. I like to take photos of people to capture a moment. I’m a poor photographer so I keep many bad photos of people to remind me of them and they’re often wearing an expression that bears no relation to how I think of them. (And not just a “don’t dare take that photo” expression!)

    Sometimes I take photos of things like my desk, writing etc to try to illustrate a point as realistically as possible and add them to a prezi, powerpoint etc.

    I took my own photo on my iPad back in September for this site and various other places. It took 112 shots to get the expression on my face I wanted, but it didn’t really look like me (looked younger for a start!). Jen took my current one which looks far more like me. I like it better.

  2. I take photos whenever I go anywhere interesting – normally landscapes, or close-ups of flowers etc. My main aim is to take a ‘good’ photo -, something pleasing to the eye or even something you’d want to hang on the wall, but that very rarely happens! I quite like messing with lenses and filters to get different effects! But more often recently just use a ‘point and shoot’ digital camera which is lighter and easier to carry. Either way it makes me look at the surroundings in more detail, I think. I store the photos on a computer, but any good ones get printed out and framed. A few get posted to facebook. I’ve also started making them into photo books (e.g with jessops), I prefer a hard copy to look through and to show to friends and family.

  3. I take photos because I don’t have a screen my brain can download images onto. I’m also useless with oil paints, can’t mix egg tempura, and pencil drawings and woodcuts don’t capture the light in the same way. After I take my photos they sit in the memory card until I dump it into i-Photo. Then they sit there until I blog them, put them in a book, make a movie, give them to students to write stories about, Gimp them into New Year’s cards, save them for blackmail purposes (especially Christmas Turkey Hat photos) or on the odd occasion get them blown up and framed. Every now and then my husband goes through them saying ‘awww, remember when…?’ Sometimes I actually do.

  4. I take photos to understand how to turn objects into abstracts. I also take photos of my family and events as I realise now that things that were photographed when I was little give me a memory, a story, that help me remember what it was all about. I like taking pictures of fleeting moments, ordinary still life and patterns that become meaningful. I also started taking an interest in photographing graffiti. Some photos are posted on Facebook or for my blog.

  5. I take photos mainly because I enjoy the process of creating a, hopefully, interesting and engaging image from the scenes around me. But realise I usually only take photos when I have a space or reason to share them: generally on my blog, or via twitter, or to use in future lectures etc. I also sometimes take them just to experiment, to see if my idea, composition etc works.

  6. Thanks Gina and Osbert. This is coming along nicely. Thanks for the link too – it’s quite interesting (and a bit scary that your interests were tracked so easily).

  7. So many reasons…

    I suppose predominantly I take photos to remember. I don’t have a great visual memory so I like to capture things on camera. The main things that fit in this category are the beers we drink on our monthly beer tastings – it’s important to have some recollection of what was good, and things I want to show to friends but can’t explain.

    Holiday photos are for remembering too, but they’re also because I like the creativity of spotting and capturing a good shot. Sometimes you see something and think that would make a fab picture.

    Also more recently a camera at 10 megapixels is a quick alternative to a scanner.

    What do I do with them – save them in ordered folders on my computer, and share a subset on facebook or with friends. I also make a calendar with them annually, and once or twice I’ve made a friend a book of photos or a collage. Then once in a blue moon I decide to print a load as I much prefer looking at them in hard copy.

  8. Why do I take photos?

    I take photos for two reasons:

    1) to capture and give permanence to something, someone, some event which I consider to be striking/remarkable.

    2) to create something which is striking i.e. which provokes interest.

    I am often frustrated that the camera does not reproduce what I ‘see’.

    What do I do with the photos?

    The majority remain on the camera’s memory card which is probably due to the fact that I rarely achieve my photographic aims (see above).

  9. I used to take photos to remember stuff but that was before you could shoop ’em and make them lie. Nowadays taking a photo can be a way of getting raw materials for creating something that doesn’t necessarily exist in reality.

  10. hmmm. My previous comment didn’t make it past the moderation process. I’m confused as it wasn’t inappropriate. If I remember rightly I said that before photoshop I used photos to help me remember things, but now they are more like raw materials for creating something which might not exist in the real world. Why is that comment unsuitable? I’d really be interested to know.

    1. apologies, Nicola – the blog filters are catching quite a few things at the moment. I think all your comments have come through, now! 🙂

  11. To give an example of what I was talking about in my “banned” comment, my partner recently emailed me a photo of a spectacular display of the Aurora Borealis appearing in the sky over our local chip shop. It was completely and obviously shooped and it was very funny since it juxtaposed the sublime with the ridiculous. Still in the dark as to why my original comment failed to pass moderation…

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