“We are our choices.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre

As an artist, as a photographer, as a human being – we continually make choices. The sum of these choices, both big and small, define who we are.

  • What kind of camera do you use? Phone, DSLR or Film?
  • Do you prefer to shoot indoors or outdoors?
  • What is your favorite toy to photograph?
  • Do you want your photos to be humorous or serious?
  • Do you enjoy sharing your photos on social media or prefer to keep them private?
  • If you use social media, what’s your favorite platform: Facebook, Instagram, G+, Flickr, EyeEm, 500px, Twitter, Tumbler, Snapchat, Vine?
  • Do you edit your photos? If so do you do it a lot or a little?
  • Do you use Lightbox, Aperture, Snapseed or Photoshop for editing?
  • Do you write your own stories to accompany your images, use quotes from others, follow an existing movie script or talk about your life and interests?
  • Do you get up early or stay up late to chase the best light?
  • Do you enjoy the company of other toy photographers or are you a lone wolf?
  • Do you practice your craft every day, only when you have time or only when inspiration hits?
  • What kind of photographer are you: landscape, travel, product, still life, narrative or something completely different?
  • Do you take your toys with you when you travel? Or does that make you uncomfortable?
  • Do your family and friends know what you do for fun?
  • Do you choose to clean your home, answer a work email, watch a TV show or set up your next photo?

I’ve had to answer every one of these questions (and a few more) at some point in the last five years. Each decision has slowly defined both me and my work; each decision has been another step on my creative journey. I may be in the ‘right’ place or the ‘wrong’ place, I don’t know, I’m just in my place. It’s a place I’m comfortable with. I realize it’s not a popular place, it’s not where the cool kids hang out and it’s certainly not a profitable place. It’s simply my place.

Whatever choices you’ve made along your own creative journey I hope you appreciate and cherish them. They’re what defines you as well as what makes your photography unique.

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

~ Shelly

I want to thank everyone who has participated in our “Why?” series over the last two years. In each of the 20 individual stories we’re offered an insight into the creative choices that each artist took; sometimes by intention sometimes by instinct. I hope you’ll take a moment to read through the entires series and consider writing your own. Even if you don’t show anyone the results, I promise you’ll understand yourself and your creative process a little better. 

Is there anyone you would like to suggest for this series? 

Waiting for Lilo.

Waiting for Lilo.