I’ve been thinking a lot about photography. Like, a lot.
I’ve been struggling to find how it fits in my life, how I relate to it. There’s an outpouring of images everywhere—instagram, pinterest, ads, it’s everywhere! Not only that, everyone considers themselves a photographer because they capture life through their camera phone. I began to doubt everything I had learned about my craft, my experiences & my confidence…in essence, my passion for it. Questions began to crowd my thoughts like, what makes me a photographer? What sets me apart from other photographers? Why do I photograph? What does God will for photography in my life?
I read an article by Annie Leibovitz earlier this year, in which she addressed the future of photography. She said that photography comes down to this: “What makes an impression on you is what will been seen. In this day and age of things moving so, so fast, we still long for things to stop, and we as a society love the still image. Every time there is some terrible or great moment, we remember the stills.” This article gave me a lot of food for thought and I began to try to find myself in the midst of the visual chaos. Little by little I stopped interacting with images. I logged out of pinterest and instagram for a week. I then took my film camera made it my primary tool. It seemed like the camera was my shadow, one that could record and keep secret the things I captured. The interaction was between the moment, my camera and my film developer, all of which would forget the shots as soon as another roll of film came their way. But still, I was left incomplete. It didn’t give me joy to shoot just to have moments in a keepsake box. Then, an opportunity came to upgrade my digital equipment, one which seemed too divine not to take. Not even having the camera of my dreams made me feel better about the whole thing.
It wasn’t until I came across an article written on January of 1933 that my eyes were open. It’s ironic that it took a blind woman to give me the answers that I was looking for but It finally made sense to me. There’s so much more to photography than what’s trendy, popular and demanded. The beauty of photography is not just in chasing light but in taking a memory and sharing it with generations to come. It’s living in the present and living life as if tomorrow wasn’t promised (and it never is). It’s seeing the wonders of life, the delight of living and feeling, even if the pain and suffering are part of the experience. That’s just as beautiful too. Photography is a reminder that I’m alive and today is a gift. .Photography has had a part in my life and I am more than willing to embrace it. I’m still exploring the depths of it’s purpose in my life but I can assure you I am challenging myself to new heights. This is why I started the 365 photo challenge: a photo a day. I had attempted to do this back in 2009 but it was very unsuccessful because of laziness, unimportance, fill in the blank. But I have higher hopes and expectations for this project now, knowing that I’ll have even more clarity to how photography will fit, not only in my present, but in my future, long after I breathe my last breath. That is life worth capturing!