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The Rise of the Photographer pt 4: The Value of Solitude | The Philosophy of Photography

As we move swiftly through the anthropocene age, we forget what it is like to be disconnected. Just like with the last blog that suggested the reason why photography is one of the largest hobbies, is due to the mental clarity we get from walking. There is a tangible value from solitude that perhaps goes unidentified, in which drives the passion for photography. I also stated inthe last blog that walking transports us out of our automated lives, let’s expand on that further.

The Value of Solitude is a scarce commodity in these modern times, as to be secluded means to be away from others. There is no monetary value to put on solitude, but I argue that it is perhaps the most consequential aspect lost. For our brains to digest the information that is dumped on us daily through social media, news outlets and day to day learning, we need to remove ourselves from reality. This is why sleep is important, it allows the brain to go into a standby mode. This is also why breaks are important when studying for an exam, our brains are not machines and cannot function at 100%, 100% of the time. It is a consequence of our brains craving information, seeking to confirm itself and the popularity and accessibility of the internet/smart phones that has caused us to reach an information overload.

To elaborate, is there ever a time where you feel overwhelmed by something in your day-to-day life and to remove yourself from this you reach for your phone and browse [insert your preferred media platform here]? I know I have a habit of doing this, and even though I am technically escaping the stress of my real-life issue, I never truly feel better after exploring social media. In the same scenario, if I were to grab my camera, leave my phone at home and head into some rarely travelled part of nature, I immediately feel better, like I have truly escaped my stress and can focus. The value of solitude is found here, rooted in our desire to create, and our connection with nature.

We are creative, humans are creative individuals, it is a consequence of our modern system that has a tendency to strip away our creativity and put us in a box for 8 hours a day as we hope for the weekend to come sooner. The fact that we spend 5/7 days hoping for 2/7 days is downright unethical. We crave for those 2 days so we can feel free of the burden and stresses that hound us for 70% of our working life. The Value of Solitude in the eyes of this photographer, is worth more than money, but it is incompatible with capitalism as it does not pay the bills. It does not provide the roof over my head, nor does it provide the food on my plate. In a hyperspecialized society, I do not have the means to produce these myself. The irony of the Value of Solitude is that if I were to be placed in the middle of nowhere and had to use what was around me to survive, I would certainly end up dead much faster than I care to admit.

So this is where this leads me, the Value of Solitude; The ability to connect with nature, connect with myself, free from the burdens of others and of life. Tantalizingly close, and there are some days in life when I can taste the betterment. Deep in my mind I know it is temporary. I am at least comforted by the fact that the Value of Solitude and Photography will be intertwined forever, as they are one in the same. The best photographers are also explorers and survivalists, they can remove themselves from modern society and find success. This is where I hope to be one day, and I am driven to hopefully make it so I can (modestly, not extravagantly) support myself, my girlfriend and my cats through photography. That is the dream.

On the next blog, I will explore photography and its part in the culture industry. This is due to the fact I have just started selling prints to hopefully make my photography a stream of income. Which led me on a path of confliction.