I belong to a FB group whose focus is the photo editing software called Lightroom. Whenever I log into FB, my feed is inundated with postings from this group. Mostly it’s photographers showing their work and the photos are more often than not beautiful, so I don’t mind this new phenomenon at all. It gives me something to work toward actually.
But it did get me to thinking about why we take pictures.
So…why DO we?
We each have our own personal reasons, but I also think that there has to be some common ground, or so many people wouldn’t be doing it!
For me, taking pictures allows me to stop time. Not literally, of course, but it allows me to examine a scene in detail and notice and appreciate things that normally I might not. Unlike videos, with a photo the eye has the luxury of time to see each detail, to really focus in on the facial expressions, the background, the foreground, what people are wearing, etc. In other words, not just the forest, but the trees.
I’ve been veeerrrryyy slowly going through old photos, and this process has helped me to remember, with greater clarity, past events. In some cases, it’s helped me to remember events that have long since been forgotten.
Several years ago while at a friend’s house, we were going through old photos. I’m talking OLD as in high school and college. Her father noticed I was deep in thought while looking at them and asked me if it was bringing back memories. You’re damn right they did. (Was I ever that young??).
There was something about the way he asked, the tone of his voice which was sprinkled with melancholy, that made me feel he’s ‘been there’…many times.
I think older people have a heightened sense of the past. My elderly aunt once said when you’re older, your life is mostly about memories.
I suppose that’s true, and why it’s important to live your life so you’ll have plenty of good ones when it’s nearing its end.
Taking pictures also documents those same memories. It is a tangible way of showing, ‘hey, I was here’! But for some, photographers in particular, it’s the capturing of less significant moments, where something might have called to them, or they were impacted by what they saw, that drives them. It’s safe to say the most successful photos do indeed capture a ‘feeling’. We may not know exactly why we feel a certain way when looking at them, but we do.
I’ve noticed some photos that are taken by experienced photographers somehow feel sterile and lifeless, while far less experienced photographers often take more instinctive, compelling photos. They’re perhaps not as focused on the technical aspect of photography, but rather simply trust their instincts.
Always a good thing in my opinion.
I’ve learned, unless it’s a shot I need for my blog, i.e., my garden, a recipe or a sewing project, not to take a photograph unless the scene speaks to me on an emotional level. If I do, for sure the photo won’t convey a mood or feeling. I have been able to capture that in some of my pictures, but not very often, and surprisingly just as many of those successful photos were taken many years ago, long before digital cameras and photo editing were on the scene, as I do now.
I suppose with the onset of digital photography and cell phones, taking pictures has become so much easier, but it can also lead to comparisons. Instagram, Pinterest, blogs…they’re all chock full of beautiful photos and it’s easy to feel that yours are not good enough. Trust your own vision, and don’t worry about whether or not others appreciate your images.
As long as you enjoy your photos, it’s all good. Because in the end, that’s the reason we take them.
In other news…
For the 8th straight day, temps have reached 90 or higher here in the Northeast. Lawns are turning brown, flowers and veggies are wilting, and deodorants are getting a workout. We’ve been taking it easy at the height of the day, either staying inside in an air conditioned space or going to the lake. Anything that we want/need to do outside we’ve been doing in the morning or late afternoon/early evening. It breaks my heart to see everything look so parched after all the work we put into it, but with well water we’re cautious about over watering. We did have some much needed rain last night, but not nearly enough. Our lake is so low the docks haven’t even been brought out this summer, as it’s dangerous for anyone to jump off of them.
I made another cement leaf which turned out quite nice. I’m happy to learn some of you are considering giving it a try, but I’ve learned a lot with this project and will share details soon so hang in there because I think I may have some tips that will help make the project a success. I’ve also got a couple of new things for the fairy garden, but nothing worth sharing.
We did redo some steps outside which were looking pretty nasty! This is probably the last of the ‘hardscaping’ projects for the front of the house. At least I think it is ;). Here’s a ‘before and after’…
Pretty big difference!
Till next time…