The Best Hobby There Is

Today’s Post by Joe Farace, with photos by Mark Toal & Mary Farace

Gary and Anthony

People —not-photographers really—often ask my why I like photography so much. They usually know that I have other interests such as model trains, books and Lego (analog interests actually) but photography has been a big part of my life since I was eight years old.

I think photography is the best hobby/avocation/profession in the world because it has two aspects that make it more than the sum of its parts.

One of the less obvious—to others anyway—is the way we see the world. Photographers know their art/craft is about light and they see (and appreciate) lighting better than non-photographers that ultimately increases the simple act of being alive. Recently Mary was at an outdoor workout and turned around to see the backlighting behind the colorful outfits of her fellow students. She remarked about it to the person next to her, who, no surprise, didn’t get it.

We can be forces for good by making images showing beautiful photographs of a landscape that needs to be preserved or it can be as simple as making portraits of loved ones that they and other family members will cherish. Years ago I wrote what about the important role we, as image makers, play in the lives of people around us. Take Mary’s portrait of her parents on her mother’s 90th birthday.

splashI think we underestimate the many positive effects of our photographs. Though I’m often critical about the role social media plays in today’s society there’s no doubt that there are positive aspects too. An image can be Facebooked, Tweeted, and Pinned thousands of times, influencing people and creating an avalanche of good will for the photographer and the subject of the photograph.

There is no doubt this explosion of images was stimulated by the immediacy of digital capture but digital cameras accomplished something else—although it took a while—and that was to stimulate the use of film and film cameras saving these instruments from the dustbin of history. This trend brings into play a whole other group, maybe a generation, of photographers who are all about making and sharing how they see world with others but using film. And there is no other medium that does this as perfectly—no translation required—as a photograph.