What Does Photography Mean to Me?

A simple question but its simplicity of language is deceptive. I have discovered that the reality of such an enquiry is that it forces the photographer to whom it has been addressed to question the very essence of their relationship with a medium that provides them with a creative outlet that is a visual representation of what they think, believe, experience, and wish to convey. It also introduces reflections concerning outcome versus intent, success versus failure and recognition versus anonymity. It is a question that goes deep.

My decision to approach photographers and ask them to answer such a question was based upon a personal desire to explore my relationship with the medium of photography and visual storytelling. It seemed to be omnipresent throughout my life but I had never questioned that reality. I had never considered what it meant to me. Where had it come from and how had I sustained my passion for photography? I decided that to help me answer my own questions I would reach out to photographers and those associated with photography to see if they could help me reach some understanding through their reflections and experience.

The responses were generous, illuminating and honest. Often raw in their passion, considered in their introspection. Most importantly, themes began to develop, themes of approach, intention and desire. The consistency of these themes surprised me but also reassured me that my understanding of photography had synchronicities with the people whose images I admired and was interested in.

Storytelling  is a constant foundation for many photographers as is the importance of collaboration. Many reveal a love/hate relationship with the medium, detailing the torment they often feel as part of their photographic process. Others felt the need to place their practice today into the context of their journey, reflecting on those photographers whose words and images informed their own understanding of the medium. Some are up-beat others more melancholic in their presentation, but all are passionate, informed and engaged. Their words force the listener to stop and take stock, they force self-questioning, reconsidering pre-conceived understanding. They make you think.

Every week we ask a photographer to describe what photography means to them in less than 5 minutes as a piece of audio. This is then included within the A Photographic Life podcast.

Every Wednesday at 6.00am BST we post a new episode of the A Photographic Life Podcast. Available to listen, download and subscribe at  or via or and more…

Here is a list in order of appearance of all of the photographers who have featured so far:

Ella Murtha
Nick Turpin
Ed Kashi
Al Brydon
Laura Beltrán Villamizar
Craig Aitkinson/Cafe Royal Books
Tom Stoddart
Kitt Woodland
Marc Vallée
Brian David Stevens
Jenny Lewis
Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert
Rob Hudson
Emma Blau
Burk Uzzle
Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen
Tom Oldham
Brian Duffy
Susan Meiselas
Stuart Franklin
Helen Trompeteler
Kenneth Jarecke
David Bailey
Danny North
Mary Ellen Mark
Michael Thompson
Dan Wood
Philip North Coombes
Jim Mortram
Christopher Anderson
Robert Darch
Michael Jackson
Margaret Mitchell
Amy Romer
Brian Griffin
Marc Wilson
David Levenson
Derek Ridgers
Craig Easton
Paolo Roversi
Rachel Boillot
John Sevigny
Alys Tomlinson
Colin Jones
Geoff Waring
Elliott Landy
Guia Besana
Katharine MacDaid
Iain McKell
Guy Martin
Dafydd Jones
Fleur Olby
Chris Floyd
Paul Trevor
Sunil Gupta
Amelia Troubridge
Ian Weldon
Laura El-Tantawy
Sadie Catt
Paul Russell
Colin Wilkinson/Bluecoat Press
John Angerson
Eduardo Soteras Jalil
Venetia Dearden
Robert Trachtenberg
Paul Weinberg
Elinor Carruci
Toby Binder
Trevor Brady
Roger Steffens
Chris Harrison
A.D. Coleman
Julie Hrudova
Sebastian Meyer
Erwin Olaf
Stephen Dupont
Alex Buisse
Homer Sykes
Gideon Lewin
R.J. Kern
Oli Scarff
Roger Stowell
Seth Lower
Anna Boyiazis
Julia Fullerton-Batten
Vinca Peterson
Mark Neville
Jason Bell
Pixy Liao
Wolfgang Susitzsky
Massimo Vitali
Deanna Dikeman
Andrew Jackson
Ragnar Axelsson
Hellen van Meene
Jessica Backhaus
Reuben Wu
Cathal McNaughton
Colin McPherson
Jason Bell
Michael Magers
Witold Krassowski
Micaiah Carter
Mandy Barker
Nicholas J.R.White
Nick Wynne
Tim Davis
Danna Singer
Rhodri Jones
Jan Töve
Ethan Hill
Michael Jang
Daniel Meadows
Elin Berge
Melissa Breyer
Nicholas Syracuse
Greg Marinovich
Seamus Murphy
Clare Strand
Nancy Borowick
Yael Martínez
Robin Schwartz
Olivia Rose
Eduard Korniyenko
Richard Beaven
Lois Greenfield
Paul Lowe
Aletheia Casey
Denisse Ariana Perez
Jeremy Leibman
Buku Sarkar
Joseph Szabo
Jasper Goodall
John Bulmer
Mark Klett
Ana Caroline de Lima
Endia Beal
Hugh Hales-Tooke
Norman McBeath
Gary Calton
Melissa O’Shaughnessy
Mona Kuhn
The Guzman
Rachael Wright
Tatsiana Chypsanava
Esther Ruth Mbabazi
Benedict Redgrove
David Eustace
Nolan Ryan Trowe
Jill Hanes
Mark Steinmetz







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