Tuesday, May 28, 2013

348/365: Through Her Lens

The Mr.'s photo of me taking a photo.
The bike I was riding is lying on the sidewalk out of frame,
wheels still spinning. I always stop for photo opps.

Since I was a little girl, when asked which super power I would want given the choice, I always said, "To be able to snap a photo with my eyes and send it to my friend's brain, so they can see what I see, the way I see it. It was all about freezing time to capture a moment and relaying the memory to someone else. These days, digital photography and photo sharing sites and apps have brought us all a little closer to my dream super power. Photography allows us to share our life stories through pictures, to present the significance of everyday life the way we see it individually. We could all look through the same lens and see things very differently.

I fell in love with photography in high school, where I loaded black and white film into my dad's old 35mm camera, learned to use the manual settings, and studied the way light and composition affected my subjects. I learned how to develop the film and spent hours in the dark room watching the images come to life.

I occasionally still pull out my 35mm camera, but with no dark room, it's lost a bit of the appeal. I'm slowly making the transition into the digital world. I say slowly because I have yet to acquire a nice camera or learn photo processing programs. For now it's just me and the camera phone in my pocket, and a couple smart phone photo apps if I feel like tweaking some things. I am very much an amateur, but a serious one. Anything and everything is worthy of a look through my lens. Not many days go by without my finger on the shutter. 

This year, I have turned the camera on myself more often. Self portraits from unique points of view often capture the mood of the moment and make for great art journaling. I've also developed a keen eye for the extraordinary in my ordinary. Why use a generic image in my mixed media collages when I can make my own from my daily travels? My creative process has also greatly benefited from the idea of using my digital camera as a tool for capturing snapshots of inspiration that I come across in my environment. My photography feeds the rest of my art. 

As a means of pure creative expression, photography feels as natural and easy for me as writing. I suspect this is because I can snap several "drafts" of an image until I'm happy with the result. I am a shutter bug in play mode, discovering the mood of an object, composing a scene or highlighting design elements in the environment that may go unnoticed. I find peace in the symmetry of flowers and in the horizontal lines and blocks of color in a landscape. I love candid photos of people living out a moment of their lives. I adore detail shots of the everyday objects that make up my days.

For me, photography is a practice in being more observant, more present in the moment, and in documenting my ordinary extraordinary life.

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