As we are poised at the beginning of February, a month traditionally dedicated (at least partially) to romance and warm emotions, I thought it appropriate to spend some time examining reasons why I love photography, and why you may, as well. It can be tedious down in the trenches, as you are working through learning the skills and techniques necessary to creating impactful images. However, we all fell in love with photography at one point, and pausing to examine those original reasons can help to re-focus learning and practice, as well as breathe a fresh sense of perspective into your photographs
Do you ever find it hard to communicate an emotion through words? Or wish that you could illuminate the tiny jeweled details of a memory- so clear and precious in your mind, but not nearly as affective when described out loud? Do you ever find yourself lost in an image? Swept away with the mood and emotion of the moment the photographer has captured?
Photography has the power to communicate across language and culture. The lack of words displays feelings and story in as nuanced a manner as the photographer desires. The scene can be brushed over with a broad stroke, giving the viewer a cursory glance at the story that is taking place, or, the photographer can choose to utilize exposure, focus, composition and other technical choices in order to dig deeper. To bring to light more than might first meet the eye. Photography gives a voice to many; to the photographer, the subject and sometimes even the viewer, as they are granted the ability to take what may be an ambiguous image and read their own emotional reaction into it. When you purposefully create a photograph you are granted the opportunity to consider all variable adjustments at your disposal and decide what and how you will communicate with others through your art.
How often, when you’re wading through the midst of a phase or life-stage, do you find yourself thinking “this will never end?” But, almost without fail, life does change and a new normal emerges. I began seriously taking photographs only after our first child was 2 years old. I have very few photographs of my husband and I as a young married couple, or to take it even further back, images of our time in college. While I do think there is something to be said for allowing some memories to exist solely in the pages of your memory, I also believe that photography is an amazing tool for helping us to memorialize what life looks like, now. To that end, I’m a strong advocate of shooting a “Day in the Life” series, at least once a year. Capturing an entire, normal, mundane day is challenging, but when you look back at the images a few years down the road, it will be clear just what a gift the ability to freeze time is.
Photographers don’t have to work in isolation. One of the best things about photography is the ability to work amongst a strong community of like minded individuals. When I first started seriously learning how to shoot my DSLR on manual mode I committed to 2 years in a row of daily shooting. I posted to my blog, each day, and spent time each evening, reading and viewing the blog posts of a group of women who were at similar points in their photography journey. Their camaraderie and support was what kept me going through the frustration and fatigue of those 2 years that I now count as foundational to where my photography is at, today. If you’re looking for a group project to participate in, please think about joining my friend Courtney (of clickitupanotch.com) and I on a self portrait project that we have committed to. Each Monday we shoot and share one self portrait, tagged with #portraitsofme , on Instagram. Self portraits are a wonderful way to develop skills both in front of and behind the camera, and most photographers find that there are very few images of themselves, when it comes time to assemble a family album! If self portraits aren’t for you, then think about searching out another project to participate in, or find a group where you can both share of your knowledge and benefit from the experience of others. Working on photography with other passionate artists is a wonderful way to add depth to your experience.
What would you add to this list? Why do you love photography?