The “Conscious Photographer” and How to Become One


If you think that photography is all about knowing the right techniques and having the right equipment, this is not the article for you! At Excio we believe that your photographs are a true representation of you as a photographer. It boils down to the basics – it is not just about what you photograph, but about sharing with people why you love what you photograph.


Being a conscious photographer means knowing why you are taking a photograph and what will happen to it after you have pressed the shutter release and done the post-processing.


What message does your photo tell? Is there a story? Are you passionate about something and trying to raise awareness? Where are you sharing your photo and message?


By no means do you have to start taking photographs of melting icebergs. Not at all. However, as a conscious photographer you must understand the interconnectedness of everything and everyone, no shot is insignificant.




The responsibility of social media platforms


It is our job as photographers to not only use photography to open the world to people, but to take care of and protect the places we love. First when you are taking the photo and then, when you are sharing it, by making a conscious choice of how to share your image and what information to add about it.


It's so important to be mindful of over-tourism and the damage and destruction it has brought to so many places. The Wanaka Tree in NZ is a well known example but now, the latest victim of over-tourism, is Maya Beach in Thailand which has been closed so that the environment can recover.


We all know that images are capable of inspiring wanderlust and we're all guilty of getting itchy feet after seeing that beautiful beach/woodland/street on Instagram but be conscious when you share your photographs on social media, keep the location general – that will encourage people to actually spend some time searching for the location (if they can be bothered) rather than pinning it to Google maps and jumping on the next available flight.


“But then how can I become known? How can I be recognised?” you ask. If you don’t add #hashtags or are not shooting at popular locations, chances are minimal that you will be noticed in the big wide world of photo sharing. Competing with billions of images every day, “the challenge is in finding an angle not already plastered all over social media” says Peter Laurenson, one of our Excio members. Don’t follow the trodden path, follow your own journey.



"Dawn view south east to Mt Taranaki, across the icy wind churned surface of the Pouakai Track tarn, New Zealand. This tarn is normally shot when the weather is very calm and the mountain is a mirror image reflected in it. But the tarn itself has something to offer as well I think. These days it has become difficult to enjoy the seclusion I did on this morning. International tourism has well and truly found this place, changing it from what those visiting are looking for." By Peter Laurenson.


Being a conscious photographer means interpreting what you photograph through your own lens and telling a story.

Having a clear vision of what you want to tell is the main step in creating conscious images. See what Peter Kurdulija says about one of his photos:


"The town was deserted. The lack of human presence sharpens your senses. A powerful wind flexing its muscles on the mighty antique trees was delicate enough to finger a haunting tune on overhead wires. Places like these are sentenced to eternal exile by civilizational development and kept out of oblivion by the sheer power of human inquisitiveness. Lingering local heroes from campfire stories are occasionally brought to reality by the nearby cemetery tombstones. I opted for a solitary stroll along the path stiffened by an overnight frost, shadowed by a dog that had materialised from nowhere. If in luck, the surrounding emotional residue will rub off on my images before incoming clouds peel the last phoney sunlight off the historic facades. Time flies, this is a potent reminder." By Peter Kurdulija.


Knowing what you want to photograph, how, and why is so important if you want your images to trigger interest, to be understood by a viewer and to make an impact.


Millions of new photographs are uploaded daily which all add to the online noise. However, what varies, and varies dramatically, is the conscious effort with which they are taken and understood by the viewer. Always remember that we are all deeply interconnected to everything in this ever-expanding world that we inhabit. In the age of influencers, gamification, and commercialization of photography, we as conscious photographers have to empower those around us and set an example for fellow photographers.


See the collections of Parmeet Sahni as she travels the world and shares her experience with us:

"Come, let us have some tea and continue to talk about happy things." Chaim Potok. By Parmeet Sahni.

Join the conversation by adding your comments below or by uploading your images and stories to your Excio collections.

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