As a photographer, I've always tried to show how Man interacts with the Earth. Well, not always. When I first began my formal training, it was my goal to show an untouched, unaltered landscape. I don't remember exactly when I realized that such a goal was almost impossible. Especially if you include the whole of Man's history on Earth. I think the realization occurred either in between my freshman and sophomore years in college, or very early in my sophomore year. I remember feeling a bit deflated. Not necessarily because I lamented the loss of untouched pristine nature, though that lamentation certainly did come. But mostly, because at that time, my goal (as is it still remains) was to capture Beauty. But my definition of Beauty in Nature excluded those places where Man had been. I've since realized that it's a bit like Schrödinger's Cat. Even if Man hadn't been in a spot I desired to photograph, or been in the scene I was composing, me being there had introduced Man in the land.

While out photographing the landscape, documenting and observing the changes that have occurred either via natural processes or Man's construction of all the various features to further civilization, several questions come to mind. Some are very easily or quickly answered, and some take some research. Some are more philosophical in nature.

Here is my list of many of the questions that I think about:

  • Why was this feature created?
  • When?
  • Who made the feature?
  • How was it done?
  • Is it necessary?
    • Was it necessary at the time it was created?
    • Is it necessary now?
      • If so, is there a way to improve it?
      • If not, how can it be removed?
      • If the thing is necessary, is this the best place for it?
    • What can we learn from the creation of the feature?
    • Can the feature be improved to make it more effective or efficient?

Whether a landscape photographer, street photographer, portrait photographer, what questions do you think of while you've got your camera in hand?