The Purposeful Photo

Everybody has their own reasons or purposes for making images. In this
world where virtually everyone (except me) makes images, the primary
reasons are obvious. Social media is the best barometer we have to
show us those reasons.

The top two are clear. One is to share with people our lives. In many
cases, every detail to the point of creating nausea. The other is to
share with others, what we look like. The “selfie” is the artless art
form of the 21st Century.

There are of course less self-indulgent image to make.

Let’s begin today’s picture sharing  with a great photo from Luc
Gauthier of a Common Garter Snake.

Garter Snakes and Green Snakes (also know as Grass Snakes) are North
American’s most common snakes. The Garter Snake you see below is
really beautiful with its somewhat subtle variations of color. Luc did
a great job of getting down low and close to the snake’s point of


As a kid I spent many hours in search of Garter and Grass snakes. The
excellent image above brings back numerous memories to me.

For that alone I owe Luc a debt of gratitude. Photos serve many purposes.

Photography, especially outdoor nature photography, can have an
innumerable amount of purposes, both before and after the shutter has
been clicked.

Subject driven photography can be a big part of nature photography,
especially if you are in the business of selling stock.

In bird photography, one of the greatest joys of image making is when
you add a new subject to your files. It can also be profitable.

I was overjoyed when I got this shot of a tiny Semipalmated Plover
along the shores of Lake Michigan. The style of the image and the
pose, are fairly pedestrian, but oft times when the picture is about
the subject not the photographer, that is exactly what we want.

One more subject for my files, one more outdoor experience for my memory.

2Semipalmated Plpver

Animal driven photography is especially rewarding when you can combine
a great wild animal, with an important behavior, and show habitat as

This is a female Snapping Turtle just finishing burying her eggs on a
June morning.


Sometimes the purpose of pointing a camera at a subject, is to
celebrate the visual art of it all, and/or to capture something that
will upon future viewing by others, say something about ourselves.
It’s okay (my opinion) to create pictures for the art of the subject,
and /or the art of image making.

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5WhitFall 030

I believe one of the greatest attributes any photographer can possess,
is the ability to see subjects in a clear, clean, crisp manner.
Sharing what you see, is the essence of image making and if what you
see is muddled and vague, so then will be your photographs.

If the above is true, and I believe it is, it does not mean that we
should ignore subjects that are esoteric or less obvious and literal
in their nature, and therefore more difficult to describe in a

The challenge of less literal subjects, is to apply the same crisp
photographic definition to them, as we do to say a Plover.


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If we can celebrate God’s Creation with our cameras, then we can
surely celebrate a subject that has been created by one of His
creations, that being man.

Independence Day.

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Everything in life that is worth doing, will have a purpose to it of
one form or another. I do not believe it is “necessarily” essential,
to intellectualize and to describe that purpose, but sometimes it
helps to know why we do what we do. That knowledge might aid us in
moving on to the next subject, and theretofore,  help us realize that
we are done with the current subject.

God Bless,


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