November 4, 2010

Photography: a philosophy of life

A few days ago, I went on a hike. After walking for 45 minutes towards my goal (reaching the top of that mountain to get a panorama) some clouds had very much killed my best buddy the sun, dissolving all the autumnal vivid colors into one dull view. Moreover my spot was filled with drunken guys who decided to be creepy and scary. Needless to say, I never took my panorama.

My point with this anecdote is that with photography, you either get patient or move on. There's no Grey areas in this (no pun intended). You have to experiment and you have to keep doing it.  But most of all, you have be willing to accept that you are going to be frustrated 90% of the time. Because photography by its essence is trying to freeze what one second later won't exist anymore which implies a lot of missed moments of good imagery. It is about catching a light that is constantly changing on you, most of the time way faster than you can keep up. Hence, it is a constant run against time and the perfect proof that nothing lasts. So if you missed one instant, there's nothing you can do to get it back. It's over and you didn't take a picture of it.
Thus, photography is doing everything you can to grab as much information on your sensor as you can, the best way you can. Just like with life, you have to do with what you have, at the moment you have it. For to be a good photographer, more than patience you need to learn how to remain in the now. However you must be open enough to project your instincts onto the next seconds in order to get that one moment you've been waiting for, longing for. Keeping your eye on the future goal while remaining in the present moment is a life lesson and a photography rule. You can't always have what you want to appear the way you want it on your viewfinder, so you have to constantly adapt yourself to the scene you are trying to immortalize. Therefore, photography is about waiting but not waiting in vain. It is knowing what you want and be prepared to snap it when it comes. IF it comes.

For all those reasons photography is the art of letting go... letting go of what could have been and letting go of what you wanted it to be. The art of accepting what's in front of you and making the best of it because that is all you have and you have no control over it. How many times were you annoyed by someone in the street ruining the one scene you wanted to see happen? How many times were you disappointed when your photos appearing on your computer screen didn't match what you had imagined? Letting go is an art. Patience is a quality. Master both and you’ll be a good photographer. At least, that is what I aim for. After all, it’s not the photos we take that we like, it’s the art of taking them. It’s the art of BEING what we love and loving what we do and therefore are.

Photography is a philosophy of life. The "writing with light" that it is, is the closest I get to feeling fulfilled. It's my own personal life coach to never forget to cherish the present moment.

So yes I might not have had that wonderful panorama I wanted, but instead I managed to take a photo of a horse that I like. Because no matter how much I don't find photographies of horses appealing, this is the moment I wanted to remember during this bad day.

Lonely horse


Luka said...

What a lovely blog ! keep it up ! :)

Jackie said...

i absolutely love this. it's that decisive moment we're looking for, waiting for, wanting, and cherishing it's full flavored memory. i love that out of what you didn't want came this beautiful topic and photo! well done my friend. LOVE, J^2

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