Why do I take pictures?

IMG_0928.JPGPoP stands for Philosophy of Photography as termed by Vilém Flusser. I studied pholosophy when I was a student, but changed my subject several times, firstly to Artificial Intelligence when I joined a company and secondly to Cognitive Science when I left there. Although I have changed my subject several times, my intrest to philosophy has never left me.

Photography equally attracted me as philosophy did to me. In fact, my addiction to photography did start much earlier than my interest to philosophy. The first decent philosophy book I read was 'What is metaphysics?' by Martin Heidegger, which I read when I was seventeen. But the first photo I took was probably dated back well into when I was four or five. I used to take pictures using monochrome films and develop them by myself when I was a boy. I am thus entitled to think of photography philosophically.

Why do I take pictures? hm... it was simply a love for cameras when I was a kid. Most pictures I took when I was very young, say, twelve years old, were scenery, i.e., impressive buildings, beautiful places, etc. I admired picture postcards because they depict the target very precisely. I lost my interest to photography, however, as I got interested in philosophy, say, when I was a high-school student. There must have been a shift to my mode of conception from image to text.

I began to take photos again sometime around 2002. Four years passed since I had been back to Japan to work for an institute. I saw off many students leave me to work for and in a society after they had spent two years or so, having done some research under my supervision. I realized one day that the moment I spent with them never come back. I then re-started to take photos. I take a picture when something attracts my attention. The reason is personal and can often be emotional. I like to capture a moment which moves me.

I have never been able to verbalize the reason why I take pictures, but one of my friends has recently cited the following paragraph from Vilém Flusser in a responce:

The task of a philosophy of photography is to analyse the possibility of freedom in a world dominated by apparatus; to think about how it is possible to give meaning to human life in the face of the accidental necessity of death. We need such a philosophy because it is the last form of revolution which is still accessible for us. (LinkIconVilém Flusser, Towards A Philosophy of Photography)

His claim appealed to me. For what do we live despite the fact that all of us will eventually die? How can we be ourselves without being affected by evil spirit of this material world? I like things beautiful. Beauty stands up against the decaying material world no matter how short it would be for it to exist on earth. I find the eternity in the beauty. I know my view is rather classical. Still, I cannot resist to the temptation to push the shutter button when something eternal appears in my sight. Taking pictures is similar to hunting.