Better photos through neurochemistry

What’s more important, the process you use to produce photos or the actual photos you produce? OK, this is probably a circular argument but it’s a worthy thought exercise so stay with me.  

Several years ago I was photographing a Chinese calligrapher who explained that he cared only about his process, not the end product.  His world was reduced to the patch of paper meeting his brush. He drew energy from that spark in the brain generated by creating something. 

Experts who study the mind would probably say that spark is a chemical reward for positive behavior whipped up by the brain’s bartender.  I’m not sure how many bartenders are on duty in my brain but I know how the spark feels and I know when it occurs.  

Which brings me to the question of process vs. product. That buzz in the brain happens at the moment of photographic creation for me. Capturing a moment IS the fundamental photographic process….and the cooler the capture, the bigger the buzz. The tingle isn’t there for me during post capture work, even if I’m adding great value in Photoshop, LIghtroom…or printing in a wet darkroom.

Photography is about capturing a unique moment, enjoying the resulting neurochemical release and using that flush of energy to do it again. Congratulations. You are now addicted…but in a good way. 




~ by keithphilpott on August 11, 2008.

One Response to “Better photos through neurochemistry”

  1. It’s only an addiction if you want to stop.

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