What does photography mean to me?
Foremost, it's a way that I can leave my mark through life. Photographs provide an evidence that I was there in that moment. But photographs also preserve my perspective on that moment -- I was there, and this is what I, an individual human being, saw.
Secondly, it's a hobby. Collecting old cameras and shooting film are a great way to admire the past. Digital cameras and a technologies provide me a way to share (or not share) my work around the world. However, photographs are not the end-all-be-all of this hobby. No, it's actually taking and composing the photograph that provides me the most satisfaction. You give me a pair of headphones, a rangefinder with 400 speedfilm and I will feel unstoppable.
That feeling of turning cold metal dials and knobs.
That feeling of loading a new roll of film in the shade.
That feeling of just looking through the viewfinder!
There is something photography is not for me, though: emotional expression. I said earlier that photography provides perspective, you can see what I'm looking at; I can't show you my true emotions through emulsion or pixels, however. And that's not intentional. Additionally, I'm not talking about capturing and displaying the emotions of others -- I can do that all day -- I'm talking about the emotions from behind the camera, mine!. There's this disconnect between the camera and myself that I can't quite put a finger on.
I'll keep on trying. One day my photographs will speak.
For now they will whisper quietly.