What if why changes from way back when?

I’ve revisited photos, but I’ve neglected to revisit the question why.

Why then?

In June 2015 I was asked “why?” A lot has changed since then.

So, with all these changes, has my reason why changed too?

Let me premise this by saying that I’m not a photographer. Heck, I don’t even own a real camera. I’m just a knucklehead with an iPhone!

Back when I first tackled the seemingly simple question, my reason why revolved around the friendships I’d made. That hasn’t changed. But my motives have grown.

Two years ago, I resisted defining what I did as art. Since then, my photos shared the walls of an art gallery with the friends that were my reason back then. So, I guess I have to accept that I create art.

Now why?

Starting Toy Photographers with Shelly has also changed my motivation and drive. There’s now a purpose and goal. My what has become so much more than just taking photos of toys and posting them online. Sure, I still do that, but it’s just a small part of what I do now. And, as my what evolves, so does my why.

Why: The more whats you have, the more whys you'll need!
The more whats you have, the more whys you’ll need!

My what has morphed into so much more that just taking photos of toys, and my why, when, how, and soon my where, have morphed along with it. And as my whats have multiplied, the whys behind those whats have too. 

Some of the origin answers remain. Friendship and fun are still driving forces in why I do this. However, they’re now accompanied by community, engagement, improvement, learning, sharing, striving, commitment, and love as reasons why. Sure, improvement and learning were probably always in there somewhere, but reasons like engagement and commitment are new additions. These new whys are directly connected to the new what of being a part of the Toy Photographers community; an exciting and invigorating what indeed!

I’ve revisited photos for the exhibition and for the challenge that Jennifer threw out. But I’d never thought to revisit the question of why I do this too.

And with that in mind, I respond to the question of “why?” with a resounding “why not?”

And beyond

As we evolve and develop, surely our reason behind our motivation varies as well? If my why was still the same as it was over two years ago, I’d either achieved it by now, or I’d failed to meet it. Either way, it needs to be revisited.

Why: A steady diet of whats and whys
A steady diet of whats and whys, with a side order of whens, whos and wheres…

As we grow, as people, as photographers, as artists, the motivation behind what we do grows also. Maybe we tick off some of our goals? Perhaps those goals change? Or maybe it’s just as simple as we change, and therefore so do our reasons?

– Brett

Have you ever asked yourself why? Maybe you’d be interested in writing about it for us? If you are, let me know. We’re always looking for new voices to share here.

If you enjoy posts like this, we invite you to join our G+ community.
Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get notified when we have a new post ready for you.


  1. Dave DeBaeremaeker

    For me “why” is simply that photography allows me to speak with my artistic voice. Toys specifically because my voice doesn’t always match the real world, so it allows me to create my own. I can create worlds in many ways – i.e. using human models, props, and sets. However those things require huge investments in time, capitol, and space. I have little of any. Not to mention it would require working with other humans, which is… ugh. My studio for toys fits on a spare desk in my office, and if I need something a little larger, it fits in my backyard, or carport. And my tools are portable enough to carry with me, even as carry-on on a plane – so toys allow me to create what I want, when I want, in the time and space available to me.

    It fits my life, and I can express myself fully thru it. Really, whats not to love about it?

    • brett_wilson

      It sounds like you’ve got a “why” post waiting to be shared! Portability and the ability to shoot when and where inspiration hits are great reasons why!
      Plus, the number of times I cuss at uncooperative toys, I know I’d be no good with flesh models either!

  2. I think it takes some work to drill down to the why. Sometimes I’m not sure why and then other times I know exactly why. I think by focusing and figuring out the why it helps in every aspect of the what. Why is based on belief which is where the decision making mechanism resides. That’s why it’s so hard to pass up on buying lego… the why for me goes much deeper than the surface level what. Great thought provoking post Brett!

    I’d be up for writing a why post.👍

    • brett_wilson

      Exactly! The seemingly simple question “why” is so much more than what it appears. Sometimes I find myself asking why when I’m shooting too. Taking time to think about why I’m shooting something results in a better capture. Sometimes it ends with complete abandonment!
      We’d love to have you write your why statement!

  3. Excellent post, Brett. I think you’re absolutely right, if your reasons constantly stay the same, you’ve either achieved them and are no longer challenging yourself, or aren’t meeting them and may need to reassess. My goals and motivations have definitely shifted as I’ve grown and gotten more ingrained in the community.

    I’m excited to see how your why and your what continue to take shape!

    • brett_wilson

      I totally agree. If my why was still the same as it was two years ago, I’d be very concerned! I also like the idea of asking myself why from a holistic perspective, but sometimes per photo. Or even per concept, before I’ve even turned my camera on!
      The question why sometimes gets neglected when we’re thinking up shots. Sure, what, where, when, how and who get asked and sometimes they’re answered without us putting too much thought into it. But why is often neglected.
      Why has saved me needlessly venturing out so many times. And why has evolved some shots beyond what I’d initially thought up.

  4. Since Ive spent the last week cleaning up and sorting my mini figures Ive wondered if the photography is only an excuse to buy more plastic. Because at this point, the two seem to be intertwined. But then I remember the joy of seeing an image appear in my view finder or on my screen that I didn’t think possible. I love that feeling of joy mixed with pride. Deep down I love to create, be it a garden, a piece of jewelry a good meal, a lego community or a new photography. All those other surface reasons keep shifting, much like an oasis in the desert. I can never seem to pin them down.

    Thanks for making me think about this important topic, yet again! Plus it seems like you found a few takers for our ‘Why?” series! 🙂

    • brett_wilson

      Ah, the sense of pride and joy when when creating!
      And I love your analogy of a shifting oasis in the desert.
      Since revisiting the question of why, I now wonder if my reasons change more often? Sure, the big picture goals remain, but ask me why one weekend as I’m lying in wet sand, and my answer will undoubtedly differ from the previous weekend when I was hiking through the forest.

  5. Beautiful image and wonderful post.

    I think the why has to change as we grow as creators. I can’t say mine has since I first wrote it for this blog, but since I was first asked to write similar statements 8 or so years ago and then about 5 years ago for photo classes, my why has changed pretty significantly. And I suspect, or maybe I even hope, it will change again in the next few years.

    • brett_wilson

      Oh, I’d be disappointed if our whys stayed the same! As we grow, so should they. And maybe, if our whys entail some goals, hopefully we’ve achieved them and need set some more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.