Another Reason…

I take photographs for myself. All the effort of it – getting up early, stumbling through the mud or fending off angry dogs and people, the hours spent hunched over the computer – all of it, is for my own benefit. Still, I admit, praise and recognition are nice if not necessary.

Praise from friends and family is probably more about politeness than real admiration of my work. Brief comments below a Flickr image could just represent an instant’s examination of your photo. This email I received today was like a sudden burst of sunlight on an otherwise miserable morning:

We’re neighbors–kind of. I was born and raised in Jefferson City, lived there till I went away to college in 1961 and visited regularly till Mama’s death in 1989. And I am homesick. Health/financial considerations rule out my making it back in person, so I take great pleasure when I find East Tennessee photographers…  You see the beauty of East Tennessee, including our ricketly relics, and my heart sings. By getting in close to the barns, for example, you make it a subject in its own right, worthy of being seen, instead of cataloging it with a long-distance view that permits a detached, dismissive look-over… your work (I got up to page 25 today, will go further later) makes me smile and be glad. 

Yes, I photograph for my own pleasure. But the occasional thoughtful bit of praise doesn’t annoy me at all!

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