Why we take photographs...
Yousef Karsh said
"Because life can only be picture-perfect, never word-perfect.
Because wordesque sounds grotesque whereas picturesque sounds just the way it is.
Because "Smile please" gives us hope that not all's lost in this big, bad world."
A few years ago I did a big project investigating this very issue. I'm not sure it was my best work, but it was without doubt the project that had the most profound effect on me. It was a project filled with melancholy and made me see the world in a whole new way. Some top of head recollections of what I learned...
There are different motivations for taking pictures. Some seek to master a skill, others as a kind of creative expression or to capture things that have inspired them. But back then the vast majority of people were mostly taking pictures to document their lives.
If you look through other people's photo albums - you could generally title them "my fabulous life" or "I have lived". People mostly take, and keep, pictures of happy times. You take a photo to capture a present moment, and instantly it becomes a record of the past. Photos are a very social media, we use them to bind us closer to others, to share our experiences, or to capture and relive shared experiences. Our relationship with photography changes through our lives.