Let Go of The Images
People have all kinds of reasons for taking photographs. They do it to document experiences, to record moments of loved ones, to pursue a hobby.
I shoot for those reasons, but that doesn’t explain why I’m willing to get up at 2 A.M. and drive 3 hours across Southern California on a Sunday morning to capture a sunrise. It doesn’t explain why I spend hours watching videos on post-processing, why I reject 99% of the images I take, or why, on a Saturday evening, I’d rather wander down the beach with my camera than drink with my friends.
I don’t get paid to do this. I don’t get any notoriety. Only a handful of people ever see any of the images I capture, and yet, I keep shooting.
There’s something deeper there. A compulsion that I don’t fully understand. Something that rises from within and whispers for an outlet. So, in the quiet moments, as I wind my way down some forest road at dusk (camera in the seat next to me) I wonder to myself, ‘why am I doing this?’
My life is full of problems. Some of them are pretty serious; most are not. Chief among them, however, is the internal dialogue. The voice that says I’m not attractive enough, not smart enough, that I shouldn't have made that one comment the other day, or that I’m behind in life. Maybe you have a voice that says something similar; maybe it says something else.
When I pick up the camera, that voice turns off. It fades into the background as my attention is pressed into awareness. The photos don’t make themselves, they need my focus, I have to work at it. And this is where the magic of photography emerges.
You see, it’s not about the images, it’s about losing yourself, even for just a moment. As you analyze some pattern of tree bark, or notice how light bounces off the forest floor, your mind becomes consumed with the effort of composition. The quest to capture the contrast between what is, and is not, lit by the sun --becomes all consuming. The challenge, then, is to say goodbye to yourself for awhile, and create space for whatever comes forth in its place.
That’s why I shoot.