My Journey…

landscape, winter, sunrise, cold, Alberta, prairie, frost, snow, photographic journey, Dan Jurak,

Why do you take pictures?

There are as many different reasons as there are people. Each one is as valid as the other.

I can’t recall when I first wanted to pick up a camera. It was that long ago.

My long deceased father was a serious amateur photographer before he died in 1962 at the age of 32. We were left with hundreds and thousands of black and white negatives, prints and color transparencies.

Maybe it was a way of keeping close to my father? Poring through old images and seeing him on his hunting and fishing excursions to the foothills of Alberta was a way to live with him through those images.

In my early twenties after dropping out of university and working for a few years at various manual labor jobs I decided that was not the life for me and returned to school to enrol in a two year photography program.

Things don’t always go as you plan. Not that it’s a bad thing. After having been published in a few hard cover books and magazines I had my sights set on becoming the next David Muench but something happened and I found myself more interested in studio photography and for the next thirty or forty years found employment as a photographic illustrator and designer forgetting about the landscapes that had originally drawn me in.

And then it happened, a few years ago I found myself driving the side roads of Alberta with camera in hand and becoming acquainted with an old friend.

For a few years I contributed to the stock photography market and had sales around the world. Then the stock photo market crashed and I stopped contributing but I didn’t stop taking photos.

I’ve been taking them ever since, not for a client or for public approval but for myself.

It’s been over a year since I posted my first Instagram photo and in that time I have seen hundreds and thousands of photographers on their own journeys. Some are there to make money. Some are there to boost their ego. Some are there to only share their journey.

I was saying to my kids the other day that it still sometimes surprises me that the photos that I least suspect are the most popular and the photos that I enjoy most are given a so so reception.

I still take photos for myself and for my enjoyment. There is a sense of satisfaction that comes from creating something that is yours and different from the rest.

Our journeys are all different one from the next but we are all headed in the same direction.

Happy shooting,


~ by Dan Jurak on February 14, 2019.

4 Responses to “My Journey…”

  1. I picked up a camera to document fishing adventures. I’ve learned now that it actually helps my terrible memory to soak in the details of any scene, landscape, sunset, etc. And it’s a great excuse to just go for a walk, hike, or just get outside!

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Dan. I love this shot, it really sums up the weather we have been getting lately. I am not fond of commissions because I never know what the other person is picturing, even if they say they don’t have a pre-conceived notion and I don’t know that I am going to get the shot that I like, especially now with ever worsening cataracts. I have to remind myself if I enter a photo in a photo club competition, it has to be because I like it, not because I am trying to please the members and for that reason I am so happy for the “open” category. It must be so satisfying for you to go out and photograph where your eye takes you but think you have had a satisfying career as well.

  3. Thank you Jane.
    Some of my favourite times outside have been when it was below -30 Celsius. The weather can seem almost dreamlike.
    There is nothing wrong with contests as long as you go into it with the intent of only sharing and not to be validated.
    The funny thing is that the photos of mine that I like the most get the least attention and the photos that I am often reluctant to post because I think they are so so seem to get all the love.
    Who is right and who is wrong?
    The answer is, I can’t tell you how you should like your coffee or tea nor you tell me. That is how it is for photography for me.
    As for a career, I think that I have lead a charmed life. I was lucky to work with editors or art directors that always told me, ” do what you want” and for that I am grateful.

  4. Hi Dan! I not only enjoy the photos you share, but I come for the commentary too. I think you ask and ponder some very thought-provoking questions about art, personal expression, and how our stories are connected to photography. My own take on things is that a photo can evoke a different feeling, response or memory in every person. Some might simply enjoy a photo for the sheer wonder and beauty of the scene taken, while for others a photo touches a much deeper nerve. I think it’s fine to look at a photo with a critical, professional eye. There’s a time and place to critique photos too. But for me, the photos that grab my attention again and again are usually the ones that trigger a more personal, even primal feeling when I look at them. And that’s OK too.

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