I Make Snapshots (They’re Really Good Well-Composed Snapshots!)

When I’m with friends I’m often photographing them doing what they’re doing so I can share photo prints with them later once the moment is past. That’s what a snapshot is, a look back on a special moment in time when we were together, sharing time.

My friends all know whenever I join them, I’ll have a camera with me. I never don’t! I photograph my world and the subjects that are most important to me, which my friends certainly are.

I often give them small framed prints that they put in their homes so they can keep close these special times together.

Some would say that the only photos that matter are those that win awards or that are of famous people. Grand landscapes or wildlife that show you traveled to exotic locations. Old nostalgic gas stations or falling-down buildings. Cars from the 1970s, or something else cool and impressive, photos at which people will go, “Wow!”

I don’t care about those things. I have no use for a photograph of an old gas station or a dilapidated structure. I don’t want to make those photographs for myself and I never make photos in the hope that you might like them. (I don’t work for you and I don’t work for Likes!) I make photos that I like. Photos of my friends–I make those because they matter to me.

Here’re a couple of dear friends when we were out at the local lake taking their dogs for a walk. There was beautiful late afternoon light. Of course, I made photographs.

Are these photographs going to win any awards? No, absolutely not. They weren’t made to impress a judge, to get a “Wow”, but simply to document our time together. You know, snapshots. Family documentary photographs. Simple memories.

Same with this one after a dinner together. Seeing this photograph puts me right back in that pizza restaurant–I can smell the tomato sauce and hear the laughter around our table. That’s a meaningful photograph.

Simple pictures of life. My life and the people and things that matter to me.

Whenever a student asks what they should photograph, I say photograph the most meaningful things in your world. Those are the photos that you will want to return to. Those are the photographs that matter and the ones that will document times that are fleeting.

Photograph what you love and the people most important to you. That’s how I work.

That’s all I do.

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