Cultivating Curiosity in Photography

Josh Rose
5 min readJun 28, 2023
St. Stephens Basilica, Budapest. Photo by Josh S. Rose, 2023.

I just returned from summer travels. We hit London, Southern Italy and Hungary. If you’ve followed along with me over the years, you know that travel photography is a big part of what I love to do — not for a living but simply because my grandfather did it, because I grew up on the images of National Geographic and Life Magazine and because, in the end, these family times together are really the juice of life. And where I feel most alive. Such is the beauty of travel.

I gathered up some notes and images from the last three weeks. In fact, the hardest part of traveling for me is not writing. Writing is how I reconcile the fragments of my thoughts. The lack of it has created a pooling effect; a large, filled basin of various concentrations. At some point, the individual ideas give way and the larger concoction becomes the only thing to write about.

And so this is about emotions.

Emotions are unpredictable and unpredictability is discomfort. We do a lot of work to try to avoid emotions, but there is no exorcism. If anything, our emotions are our only real truth. Life is the internal mess, really. The ways we contort ourselves to avoid it, is the lie.

And what does that have to do with photography or art?

Everything, I suppose.

Parson’s Green, London. Photo by Josh S. Rose, 2023.

Creative photography is driven by emotion.

You’re walking the world and noticing things. What causes you to stop and capture it if not a feeling? And what gives you a feeling if not emotion?

But if you suppress it, you’ll just never know. And that’s why curiosity is the most dangerous of things to cultivate. We think of it as childish naïveté, or maybe the inquisitiveness of cats. It’s more than that. It pushes us out of comfort. What lies beyond that is unknown. Unpredictable.

But without curiosity, we gladly miss things. Sleeping in, after all, feels nice.

Matera, Italy. Photo by Josh S. Rose, 2023.

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Josh Rose

Filmmaker, photographer, artist and writer. Writing about creator life and observations on culture. Tips very very much appreciated: https://ko-fi.com/joshsrose