Photography is forever

Tweet from Noah Kalina about no retirement in photography, you photograph, keep doing it, and then one day you die...

I came across this tweet recently via someone in my feed quote tweeting it, and it’s something that I’ve been thinking about for the past few years. It’s just the truth to it, there really is no retiring from photography, you may retire from the profession of making photographs for money to earn a living, but you don’t retire from the craft. I started to say camera, but that gets into the ongoing academic discussion of “what is photography?” which I try to avoid because I have a somewhat dogmatic view of photography, which mirrors my photographic practice.   

I think about all the other interests that have come and gone in my life; the only two that have stayed are skateboarding and photography. I know I won’t be skating until I’m in my seventies; I don’t know about making it past 50 because of the physical stress it can put on your body. Photography can be as physical as you want it; do you want to build sets in a studio, or do you want to hike and backpack in the wilderness. Hauling gear across the country in an airplane or car, or are you walking the streets of your city?

The suffering that Noah is referring to is your creative vision, how you are constantly chasing the images in your mind. As you grow more proficient in your craft, those images in your mind change so that you’re always never satisfied with your work. You’re only satisfied at that moment, that moment when you finish a series, make that final print, get that book printed.  

It’s fleeting because your mind is planting seeds for that next challenge:

  • There’s always that next show
  • That next book
  • That next body of work
  • That next trip
  • That next something.

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