Please note: This was originally published on our former website

The “Three Reasons”

We occasionally talk about the “Three Reasons” we photowalk. This page provides a bit of depth to the subject. In brief, the “Three Reasons” are

Fun and Safety (we hang out together to have fun and enjoy a safe hobby).
Honor those who came before us (without the enthusiastic photography clubs of the past, technology may never have evolved into the devices that capture light that we all enjoy today).
Education (of ourselves, each other, and the community around us).

Definition of Photowalk

Photowalking is the act of walking with a camera for the main purpose of taking pictures of things that the photographer may find interesting.
— Wikipedia

I love photography and my favorite thing to do is just walk around and see what presents itself.
— Fabio, member of Houston Photowalks

History of “Photowalking” clubs

10 years after George Eastman released the “Kodak” (1888), its estimated that 1.5 million film cameras were in the hands of amateur photographers. Parties, picnics, family events, and the passing of loved ones could be forever documented in realistic images on paper.

During the first decade of the next century, groups of “Amateur” photographers began organizing. This was back in the day that the word “Amateur” wasn’t derogatory. As the groups became better organized, photographers started leading photo safaris to interesting and unusual places.

Over the next 10 decades, photography as a hobby took several turns. As with many things that go from obscure and unavailable to completely common place, public hostility began to grow. “Amateur” photographers found themselves under increasing scrutiny.

The Negative

For the past few decades, photographers on TV and movies have been often portrait as pushy nosy reporters, as cold-war spies, and as private investigators who will expose your secrets. With the introduction of small and remotely controlled cameras, your every move could be exposed. In the Sexual Revolution of the 60’s and Free Love era of the 70’s, if a photographer owned an instant camera — well there was only one reason for that.

These all helped solidify an already increasingly hostile attitude toward anyone holding a device that records light.

We see this today. There are often signs on buildings prohibiting cameras. Police often harass photographers or illegally confiscate equipment and erase memory cards. The sentiment is often “If you own a camera, you must be [a terrorist, a spy, a predator]”.

Why we Photowalk

Photowalking is a fun, interesting way to practice photography. Amateur photographers often find themselves full of great intentions, but lacking motivation. Like with any activity, its often easier to stay home and do nothing.

Organized photowalks encourage individuals to commit to an activity as a group, and enjoy the time with new and interesting people. Houston Photowalks makes this more enticing by scheduling a wide variety of different photowalk subjects, including the “Interesting and Unusual”.

But we also do this for public relations. Its an opportunity for the public to see a group of photographers engaging in a positive, fun activity — taking photographs! By walking as a group, we remind folks that photography as a hobby is a fun and important part of our society’s lifestyle.

Joe Lippeatt
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