Does a photographer have to have a philosophy

Does a photographer have to have a philosophy when it comes taking a photograph?

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it” – Ansel Adams

One of the questions asked in the book Image Makers, Image Takers by Anne Jaeqer was “Do you have a philosophy?” The question got me thinking if I have a personal philosophy towards my photographic approach. In Jaeqer’s book the question was not answered well or plainly by any of the interviewees. It is a hard question to answer. Being philosophical or extenstential is easy. All you have to do is question and ponder anyone else’s view. What you get in return is either really good dinner conversation or really bad dinner conversation. Influence from a philosopher is easy. You find a philosopher you like, read their book and interject their views in to your life.

Living, defining and explaining your own outlook on photography and philosophy is a daunting undertaking. What I did was to quickly write down my thoughts; free associations to see what would come out of me. This is what I wrote:

Expressing and communicating
Life is surreal enough, document it
Mistakes equal experience
Immerse yourself in different worldviews; this is where perspective comes from.
Style happens, don’t think about it
Know where you want to go professionally
Shoot the light
Crop in camera
Photograph what you enjoy: Weddings, City landscape, abstract nature
Work with what you have
Don’t think outside the box. Cut the box in half and do something creative with that.

To answer my original question, I would have to say that my photographic philosophy is:

It’s all about the ambient and the art of seeing.

If philosophy is the study of the fundamental nature of existence, then noticing the ambient has to be the philosophy for photography. In the end the practices of the art of seeing is why a photographer raises a camera to their eye.