Shoot What You Love, Love What You Shoot
This month quote is true on so many levels. It’s not only about photography but about life and my love affair with photography.
Photography and life are so intertwined I can’t help myself from falling in love once I’ve put a frame around it.
“Photography is a Love Affair with Life”
– Burk Uzzle
Mementos and Journeys
Of course on the surface photography is about life. It’s a medium that creates slices of life unfolding in front of us. And so it is always about life in some form or other.
There’s no other medium that’s so intricate and detailed in showing us the wonder of being human and alive on this planet. At its best, photography touches and connects us on a deeply human level.
Photography leaves mementos of loved and lost ones, of places we’ve never been, and of times we’ve not lived. It takes us on journeys from growing life inside us to planets we can’t even see.
We’re left breathless when it shares love, passion, devotion, and connection.
And shocked to our core when it shows us the horrible things humans can do to each other and our planet.
A Photo is a Photo
It’s the essence of what I love about photography. The dance with life and the effort to somehow translate the experience of what it means to be alive. And that’s another level. Photography translates or should translate what it means to be alive. To be here on this planet. Today at this moment.
It’s a wide misconception that photography is about registering reality.
Or worse, that the photo is the reality. It never ever is. To put it simply, a photo is a photo. It’s not reality. And as such it’s a new reality. On its own.
The moment you pick up your camera and see through the viewfinder you leave stuff in and out deliberate. That act alone whether you’re a pro photographer or a selfie addict creates a new reality. At best it creates your reality.
About the photos
When I was a single mom years ago (she’s 27 now) my filter was my daughter. Not only did I love her to pieces I loved our life together. Of course, I photographed other subjects because I worked for clients.
But when I picked up my camera for the fun of it, because I wanted to, because I could, it was to photograph Zoey and our lovely life.
The name Zoey, by the way, is the English version of the Greek Zoé meaning life.
When we’re in love we see the world through rose-colored glasses. And that’s the third level of this quote. Because being in love creates bias. You’re not seeing things as the next person.
If that was the case we would be in love with every human on the planet. Mmmm…..that would be awesome actually. But we’re not.
We fall for a specific person because of a thousand little unexplainable things.
We’re filtering big time.
We see what we wanna see.
We leave out what we don’t wanna see.
See where I’m getting at?
Check out this post about the differences between humans and cameras view the world Do You Think We See The Same? inspired by the Ansel Adams quote: “A good photograph is knowing where to stand.”
Shoot with Intent
We’re filtering. The same thing happens when we pick up a camera. We’re seeing what attracts us and we’re leaving out the things we’re not attracted to.
It’s one of the first things I teach my students.
Find out what you love, what delights you, what attracts you, what grabs you, what excites you.
Once you know that it’s easier to take a picture that tells a story.
You have to discover what makes you tick before you click the shutter.
This is important from a meta perspective as in what makes you tick in general.
But also from a micro perspective. Every time you pick up your camera you need to ask yourself what is it in this scene that makes me tick. Why do I want to make this photo? Once you’ve discovered that you see through your filter, your rose-colored glasses.
And yes, it’s supposed to be that subjective. Photography is YOUR love affair with YOUR life.
Ultimately you need to shoot what you love and love what you shoot. Always. Because when you shoot with love and intent your soul will shine through.
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I’ve compiled a list of 7 at home photography ideas designed to honor the mindful nature of the photographic process. All photo projects have one ingredient in common. They revolve around the art of seeing and will, therefore, develop your observation skills. Examining your outside and inside world allows you to get into that much-desired mindful state.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But sometimes we need words to give expression to what we think and feel around a single photograph or photography in its entirety. So I actually feel that pictures and words go hand in hand most of the time. When we see a photo there’s an infinite number of reactions to that single image. We need words to articulate our reaction.
Whenever I feel lost, I pick up my camera and start to photograph. The simple act of picking up my camera in the midst of what feels like chaos creates a little overwhelm free island of time. I’m focused on creating something and when I’m photographing there’s not much else that can enter my mind. It’s what I call the mindful nature of photography and it’s healing.