Photography is an art form and art has a way of changing you –if you let it. I’m not new to photography. I’ve had a camera in my hand for the better part of the last 35 years but one of the unexpected benefits of doing a 365 project a few years ago was how it changed me. It didn’t just change how I take photographs, it changed how I see the world.
In many ways it’s brought out the child in me. Colors are more vibrant, light and dark more striking. I see ordinary details and I notice the little things. I stop and look much more now because it’s all so interesting. I cannot help but notice how the color of the light changes throughout the day and how it’s different from day to day and season to season. A simple tree in the distance set against a backdrop of a blue sky jumps out at me and I have to remark on how beautifully the sun shines on it. The moon on a dark cold night catches my attention. The rain as it hits the highway intrigues me. A cup of coffee, warm, comforting and full of meaning speaks volumes to my senses.
I think that sometimes we can become jaded by all the images around us in advertising and media. It can be such an assault to our senses that we have to turn it down, turn it off. We stop noticing things as much because we’re so used to them.
Early on in my project I wondered if frequently having a camera in my hand would prevent me from me from being “in the moment”, but what I discovered was that it actually reminded me to really absorb the moment, to capture the feeling of what was going on –not just the technical details of it. As I look back through my photos and it’s almost like being transported. I can get lost there for hours.
Sometimes I hear people say “my life doesn’t look like that –it’s not that beautiful.” Except. . . I believe it is. I believe it is because I believe that the world is beautiful. I believe that life, even with all its pain and difficulty, is beautiful. I believe that life –mine and yours– really does “look like that”.
I also believe you have to learn to see it. You have to notice it. That’s what I mean by the art of noticing. It’s an art because you have to practice it. You have to do it and once you do, once you start, you just might find that a whole new world opens up to you. A beautiful, amazing world.
It’s there, I promise.
You just have to look.