Why I Love Photography
I was preparing for a radio interview a few years ago and I was to supply the questions. (Is this a secret? I don't know if it is or not but I guess the cat's out of the bag now.) This preparation was done on a road trip in which, of course, I was the passenger. How I got work done with a van full of kids, I don't know, but I did it. I wrote out some questions to get the main points across but I wanted the first question to really grab the listeners. Here's what I came up with: Why do you love photography?
This may be an obvious question to ask a photographer but I must say it was more difficult to answer than I thought it would be. I had recently read a great book called The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything after hearing one of the authors, Ken Robinson, on a KERA radio interview. Robinson defined The Element as "... the meeting point between natural aptitude and personal passion." He states, "One of the key principles of the Element is that we need to challenge what we take for granted about our abilities and the abilities of other people." I couldn't agree more.
As many of you know, I have math degrees and was a software engineer for over a decade. Though I used to do a lot of crafts, I never considered myself creative. One of the greatest gifts my husband has given me is that he always believed I am creative and has supported me in finding how that could manifest itself in my life. I will be forever grateful to him for that. He gave me an SLR on one of our first anniversaries and that paved the way for my career in photography. I always thought you had to draw or paint or sculpt or sing or act to be an artist. My singing is limited to the car or karaoke, mostly, and my painting to the walls of our house.
So what do I love about photography?
I love the little machine that can capture what I want it to capture, with all its custom settings and all those great lenses. I love how I get into the zone when I take pictures and I don't notice the time, whether my legs hurt, whether mosquitoes are biting me or how much I'm sweating. The interaction with people I'm photographing is one of the great joys in my life. For some of the work I do, I love the control I have over the final product, from arranging the subjects to the final photoshop work. (Of course, for scenic and landscape photography, you can't move your subjects but you can move yourself!) The integration of the technical and creative makes photography a perfect medium for me as an artist. Though I never enjoyed reading technical manuals about writing software, I love reading about lighting, composition, and color.
I used to think I was terrible when put on the spot. With photography, that is my job and I enjoy the challenge of solving problems in a short amount of time. My photography is ever-evolving. Though I learned the basics and those do not change, my vision changes over time and the possibilities are limitless.
The number one reason, though, that I love photography is that when I am taking photographs, I am the truest, best part of who I really am. No anxiety, no thinking about the past or worrying about the future. If I sing, it's because I am moved to sing. Everything comes from a place of joy. Wish I could always be like I am when I am taking pictures.
As I sit here and think about all this, I get a little teary-eyed and am filled with gratitude for eyes that can see, for my software background that makes it easy to learn the new technology, for a brain that can do technical and creative stuff, for the joy I feel when being with people, for my husband who has supported me every step of the way, for the wonderful mentors I've had, and for finding my passion. It is my sincere wish that every one of you finds that passion in your life if you haven't already. Find your special gift that fills you with energy and joy and that makes you who you are. And then tell me about it. I'd love to hear your stories.
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