Why Am I In Business?

I’m in business to make money, right? It sounds like a silly question. The purpose of a business is to make money, but as a fine art landscape photographer, is money really my driving force?

Bridge to the Sentinel, Zion National Park

For me the answer is no. I’m in business because I feel I have something to share with people, and I want to share it. I love making landscape photographs, and I love presenting the results of my work and everything that goes into it. As a business, I want to be compensated for my efforts, and my compensation should be sufficient to cover my expenses and provide a reasonable profit. My goal is to continue growing my business, but I never want to lose sight of what brought me to this point: sharing my art with others.

There are many ways to share my photography without being in business. I could set up a website. I could post photographs on 500px, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media sites. In fact, I do many of these things. But I find this online way of sharing to be unsatisfying, even if appreciated by many people. When someone sees my photograph on a social media site or other online location, they see it along with hundreds of other photographs. Even when viewing a photograph on my website, they see it and then it’s gone. They may never think about it again. I value permanence in art. I want people to take time to explore my photographs, not just click through them. I invest much time and effort in creating my photographs, and I want people to have the opportunity to take time to appreciate them and extract value and enjoyment from them.

Cascading Falls in the Virgin River, Zion National Park

The best way for me to accomplish that goal is with a print. I believe the primary outcome of fine art photography should be a print. That’s the finished product. The digital image on screen is fleeting. It’s not real. It’s just a representation. A screen cannot communicate my vision because I can’t control your settings--are your colors distorted? Is the brightness and/or contrast wrong? The print accurately communicates my vision exactly as I see it. Ansel Adams referred to the print as being the performance. Everything else just leads up to that performance. Yes! It’s a performance that lasts and lingers, and you can come back to it either casually or with serious intent to study it. You can observe it up close or from a distance. It’s physical. You can hold it in your hands and feel it.

So why am I in business? I’m in business because I love making prints of my photography and sharing that permanence and artistry with people who appreciate my work. I want to give that performance for people. Through my blog and any personal interaction we might have had at art festivals and other events, I hope you can sense the excitement and passion I feel for my work, and that’s why I enjoy it so much. That’s why I’m in business--because I love what I’m doing. The money, when it comes, is just a side benefit.

Navajo Trail, Bryce Canyon National Park