I used to think that being a photographer meant being technically perfect, putting out images that were correct straight out of the camera, pictures that needed no re-touching. It's something that I've been striving for ever since I first picked up a camera and began this learning process. I think I'm getting pretty close to that end goal, but now I'm beginning to wonder if there's something more to it, something that calls for emotion to be front and center of the picture instead of correct exposure and composition.
That something that makes you stop and say, "Oh, wow!" and makes you linger for a second or two longer than necessary.
I just finished up a class yesterday by one of my photography heroes. At the end of the last lesson, he urged all the participants to keep being passionate about their photographic journeys because it's through photographs that we allow ourselves to be seen. I thought about that the rest of the day and into this morning on my run. But if I don't know who I am, that "me" that makes up, well, me, how am I suppose to show that me through the lens of my camera? And once I do accomplish the soul searching, that discovery of me, how do I then go about showing that discovery through my work? How can you make food and flowers and mundane every days show feelings and evoke emotions?
It's a puzzle to me. I've never been one of those soul searchers, the person who devours self-help books and listens to the touchy-feely podcasts that you can find just about everywhere. I have always been rather practical and down to earth, speaking my opinions and not backing down once they've been said out loud, and I wonder if that aspect of my being slipped into my photographs. The truth is, I really, really like being happy. I like being practical, but I also really like being optimistic about my life and I try live everyday as happily as I can.
But I also have days where something will be make me sad and it's that that I have trouble getting across, I think, in my pictures. How do you photograph sadness and frustration and annoyance when they are intangible and you can't touch them and feel them? Happiness and laughter and joy are so easy to show: bright happy daisies or a grin on my son's face as he spies a freshly baked pan of brownies. Those emotions are easy, it's the darker ones that I don't know how to show and am scared to show.
But I want to take up the work, the self-discovery of "me", begin a little letting down of my guard, and show people that it really isn't all happy daisies or baby robins getting fed at sunset. I think it will be such an interesting adventure, giving me lots to think about and figure out as I go for my morning runs.
A timid mind shift to allow vulnerability into my life.