If you know me very well, you know that for a couple of years now, I’ve been working very hard to improve my photos…upgrading my cameras, trying new lenses, practicing, practicing, practicing.
Then tonight I found these photos* in my archives, taken at an art fair several years ago.
These pre-date my blog, taken with a crappy point-and-shoot. This was my first (cheap!) digital camera and, until these photos, I’d had no serious thoughts of getting into photography beyond preserving memories of my children and their activities.
The little girl reading her book started it all. I remember her so well. The daughter of a fair vendor, she was quietly lost in her book, her dog snoozing soundly at her feet. They were so content and unaware — a total contrast to the creative chaos surrounding them. I couldn’t understand why I wanted to take a photo of a stranger, but I did it anyway. Then I reviewed the image after I took it. That was it; I was hooked. I spent the rest of the art fair watching people and figuring out how to take photos that reflected how it felt to be there. After that, I never looked through the lens of a camera the same way. Photography became my way of communicating how I viewed the world…what’s important to me…what I love…what I think is beautiful, interesting or funny. It’s been more personal and gratifying than any of the paintings, drawings, or carvings that I’ve produced in a lifetime of art. And also a little scary. There’s a vulnerability that comes with letting people have such a direct look into your thoughts. But the benefits outweigh the risk. Looking at these photos, I realize that my technical skills might be improved somewhat over the years, but how I see the world hasn’t changed much at all.
*Pulled into an editing app and adjusted a bit.