When I was in ninth grade, I saved up my lawn mowing money and my dad took me to Montgomery Ward to buy my first camera. Just an easy, Canon point-ant-shoot, but it felt very fancy to me. I think I finally got rid of most of those old photos a couple of years ago. I had a huge bin filled with terrible pictures of flowers, buildings, cars and little things I thought were interesting. Most of the time, those photos were about capturing a moment or recognizing that something had caught my attention and whispered something to my heart. As a highschooler, I think there may have been an element of there being this vision in my head of someone taking an arty photo of me taking photos of other things…very 90’s, Reality Bites. hahaha
My dad gave me the SLR he bought in Vietnam when I took photography in college. I learned a lot about some of the more aesthetic possibilities with my photos that year. Not only that though, I’m realizing now that some of that stuff has been resurfacing in my work for the last ten years or so. I used a lot of film, and took a ton of photos both in class and with my friends, going on field trips and seeing a big chunk of the Chesapeake Bay area. We see the world differently…we see OUR world differently when we take a moment to document it. Stopping to observe, and think, and then record our stories and experiences informs everything else.
This is the point where I start to feel like I’m rambling…There’s a point though, I promise.
With my phone, I take literally hundreds of photos most weeks. A lot of them are part of conversations, they give a sense of time and place. There’s nuance to a photo, that expands a story when combined with the tone of text. Those conversational photos aren’t always good, and usually aren’t planned, but they’re a great place to experiment. Doing photo-a-day challenges adds another layer to that experience. One that’s more thoughtful, and planned. Thinking within the confines of a prompt, and trying to take one actually good photo that captures that theme…then adding a mini blog post as a daily exercise has been a terrific growth opportunity. It’s allowed me to flex my story telling muscles. It’s allowed me to connect to people unexpectedly. Surprisingly, or maybe not surprisingly, its also informed how I draw and paint. I see my image making differently. Using a camera has allowed me to focus on JUST capturing a good image, and not on the mechanics of rendering it.
When you feel like you’re not drawing enough. When you feel like you’re not creating enough. When you feel like you’re not working hard enough. Remember that everything you do, informs everything else you do. You’re still doing the work, even if its quietly, and in the background.
You are enough.
Until next time, take care and be good.