meaningful photograph

Seven Ways to Make Our Photography Meaningful

  1.  Create a Family History – We’ll start with the most meaningful photos to me:  I have eighteen grandchildren and my wife has none of her own.  I’m very interested in creating a detailed family history and she doesn’t think about it at all.  She’s also not much of a camera person, which may or may not be a coincidence.  The thing about family histories is that the older they get, the more valuable they become.  Eighteen grandchildren:  How many descendants will that be a hundred years from now?  Keep your eyes on them and how interested they’ll be in all your details about today, however mundane they might seem to you now.
  2.  Church or other ministry – In our local camera group one member is a retired nun.  She’s used her twenty-thousand images to assemble several calendars and other printed reminders of God’s role in her and our lives – however we choose to see that.
  3.  Teach a class – This one isn’t for everybody of course, but it’s been a big one for me.  One great reason for teaching any subject is that often the teacher grows more than the class does.  If you want to really learn a subject, teach it to someone – even if that someone is only your cat.
  4.  Create a book – This can be a coffee table book, an instruction book, a book for children or anything else that interests you.  Search for self-publishing firms online, or just print the images and put them in a binder.
  5.  Enter  Photo Contests – I’ve enjoyed shooting for contests, and have even won in a couple of local ones.  I soon learned that some of the big ones are mostly interested in selling your contact information to marketers (it’s called lead-mining), but the challenge still added to my experience while shooting.
  6.  Club Photographer –  One other member in our camera group is into antique cars in a big way, and he was asked to do all of their photography needs.  You can imagine that he was in a “target-rich” environment!
  7.  Tell a story – A story can be anything you want it to be.  Pretend you’re a 60-Minutes photographer and it’s your job to get “coverage” for one of their exposes.  Or maybe a “before and after” story about landmarks in your town using old pictures mixed with your new versions.  Or let’s finish our list where we began:  Why not tell the story of some special or interesting person you know:  Your mother?  Or maybe the reclusive old man down the street whom nobody seems to know very well?  Use your imagination!

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