What would I shoot if nobody….?

….if nobody was watching? This is a note I wrote down in my phone diary, so I would write something on my blog. This is kind of thought I easily forget. So here it is.

I am not sure here. Not sure. I shoot for my self satisfaction, and for my need. But also I want to have my photos seen.

It is extreme hypothetical situation. To photograph, but never show the photo to anybody. In this case, and I am sure there are people like that, the person creates only and only to please self. As you were singing a song alone in deep forest where nobody is around. Once you stop singing, and last tones fades out in the infinity there is only emotions and memory record that remains. Only emotions and memory.

But in case of photography it is different. Output of photography is a print. And since we have this photography print in our hands, we can recall the emotion and the memory of the passed moment. When we show the print to another person, we have no control how it is going to be perceived. Should we care?

I can’t answer, because I don’t really know. I am not sure if I still would had motivation to photograph if NOBODY was NEVER going to see my photo. It is very likely that the subject of my photos would change. Maybe.

Even now. Look at the photo below. I want people to look at it. I think it is pretty good silhouette, composition worked well, it is quit descriptive as we can see lots of environment. But …if I was standing there…and if I knew that only me is EVER going to  see this photo in the future…would it be worth for me to press the shutter release button? Why would I want to make a memory of such a scene?

Ostrava – Svinov, February 2017



12 thoughts on “What would I shoot if nobody….?

  1. Jiro T April 8, 2017 / 7:03 pm

    Very good article and photo !

    • Pavel P. April 8, 2017 / 7:25 pm

      Thank you, Jiro. Unfortunately, while writing this more questions arose…

  2. Britstreet April 9, 2017 / 9:31 am

    Photos will become more interesting over time. I think too much is shown in the “here and now” for the reasons we have discussed. The considerations are what meaning an image has to you (as the photographer) and what it will mean to the viewer (in the present, in the future). But of course, what will happen to all these photos if the photographer doesn’t promote them? This is the dilemma. Then again, I wonder that Viv Maier who hoarded her pictures and other stuff and passed in reduced circumstances might well be turning in her grave knowing what has happened since her passing.

    • Pavel P. April 9, 2017 / 10:21 am

      Today, everything is instant, what is not shown doesn’t exists. Promotion – this is the question, maybe promotion in real word, and less on the Internet….maybe finding balance

      Vivian …interesting. I wonder what would she do in today’s reality…maybe she would upload everything on Flickr….

      • Britstreet April 9, 2017 / 5:18 pm

        I doubt if she would bother. Interestingly, I saw an exhibition of Viv Maier’s work in a commercial gallery London a couple of years ago and walked out. Photos blown up and printed digitally they looked plastic. Truly dreadful. Seriously. I won’t mention the prices.

  3. Frank Lehnen April 9, 2017 / 1:22 pm

    Pavel, I don’t know your age and I’ll just assume you’re younger than me (most people are). I was born in ´63 and took my first photos at about 15 or 16. There was no Facebook, no Instagram, no Flickr and the only way to share photos was with the real prints or slides, person to person.

    Fast forward to today and we have all these platforms where we share and like and follow…. but what does it bring us? Shares, Likes and Followers…. nothing real!

    Do we need it? I’m really beginning to doubt it!

    If no one were looking would I still take photos you ask. Yes, of course! Because it’s what you do! What you like! I did it way back when, without those social networks I’m starting to hate.

    Is that photography? Fishing for likes? No! Photography is making pictures, finding them and creating them.

    You have been very lucky to get a real world exhibition! That’s great, that’s real photography. The people on Facebook, Instagram or even Flickr, do they even see your photographs? I doubt it. They see you posted something and they like it, automstically.

    I’m really beginning to long for the old times! Must be getting really old I guess. Life was easier then. Less choices, less time lost on stupid stuff…

    Make photographs as if the only person that ever saw them was you! Develop your style, your own voice and stick to it. Honestly Inthink we are too much under the influence of those social media. To hell with them! Back to the roots! Where is my Darkroom?

    • Pavel P. April 9, 2017 / 2:07 pm

      I was born in 1980. Well, I would be shooting something. There was a period between my 20 and 30 years when I was shooting with DSLR, my first serious cameras. First Canon. Second Nikon. I was that kind of shooter when you take your camera on a hike or vaccation and shoot something anythimg interesting. I didn’t share it online, because I wanted to avoid negative criticism. Those photos weren’t often good. There were some photoservers back in 1998 or so…but…when I dared to show some photos I would be told they are not good. You can imagine how this influence one’s self conscious. And this is why I did show anything to any photo community. I would show family photos, photos from trips ans such to my family members.

      But I didn’t have much fun. I wanted to show my creations to others. Than I discovered Flickr and you know this story already.

      My roots were with DSLR, even I thought I shooted with some film automatic point and shoots. Just to record events or something.

      On Flickr I got a lot of inspiration. My first love was night photography – those long exposures with tripod. Than it moved to photograpging urban landscapes/topography/industry. Than street/document.

      Lucky for exhibition… I just asked and I was given offer. Do you want to exhibit?

      I question myself what to shoot again. During the time I met a couple of people I respect /internet/ and they would help me to develop photographically…now I feel a bit binded to them and to the given style and genre….

      • Frank Lehnen April 9, 2017 / 2:34 pm

        Hey, you just asked and were given an exhibition. I think I’m either too shy or too unsure of my work to do that… should try though….

        So in fact between the time I started photography and you did nothing changed very much apart from digital.

        Online feedback can be fine if it’s not just dismissive or just ‘likes’. Good, constructive criticism is rare. I submitted some photos to a competition by Lensculture and got some very good hints. Of course the submissions are paid with them.

        You mentioned in your latest post that you are searching for a photographic style or subject. Your ‘street photography’ is excellent and it is at the same time documentaty. I guess street photography has lost it’s real soul these days. Any snaps of people walking in a street is called by that name. The definition has been watered down.

      • Pavel P. April 9, 2017 / 6:12 pm

        …I just asked….well, full story was…..Someone I trust told me…”Pavel, if you mean it seriously, go ahead and do exhibition in real world for real people”. And so I did it. Without this kick it would never had happened. So I wrote a couple of E-mails and ….it worked out, they were interested. I am shy. If you appeared in TV show this would be super-easy ….

        I am afraid lots of “street” is remaining on the surface, it is very empty, despite it has a nice look… I agree with you. Yep, that series “The Periphery” is a document/street…. I like it….but also need new space….

        Thanks for your discussion!

      • Frank Lehnen April 9, 2017 / 6:14 pm

        My pleasure! By the way, I re-deleted my Flickr account just now… will think about Facebook and how not to waste my time too much with it.

        And I’ll get in touch with some galleries – thanks for the encouragement!

    • Pavel P. April 9, 2017 / 7:58 pm

      Hope they will give you options! Some cafés or huge corridors, or any public spaces works well… Many times they have exhibition plans for one or more years ahead…

  4. Gary May 15, 2017 / 12:21 pm

    “Output of photography is a print”. It could be a book

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