While having a glass of wine with my husband (Shane) the other night, he asked me very sincerely, “Why photography? Why not painting, or sculpting?”.
First of all, I can’t paint, so there’s that (unless you count paint by numbers). Second, I’m way too clumsy to sculpt so there’s never going to be a Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze moment around a kiln up in here.
The real reason is pretty corny, but let’s face it, sometimes the truth is corny. The reason why I spend so many hours studying, shooting, editing, learning, repeating, and loving every minute of it…
Camaraderie and connection make me feel alive in a way that’s indescribable. My cup runneth over when I see it, feel it, or photograph it. I can’t help it, I’m an empath by nature which means I feel what you feel, for better or for worse.
Several years ago I was driving by myself through the mountains of British Columbia. The road I was on was extremely windy, with mountains to one side and a very steep cliff to the other. I had driven this road many times before, but it still managed to make me uneasy. This one particular trip though, I fell in line behind a red convertible with a middle aged man behind the wheel. I guess he was on a solo road trip, too.
With every super tight turn his red convertible hugged the edge of the cliff, and after we had cheated death once again (tad dramatic), he would raise his arm in the air to give me a thumbs up, as if to say, “We did it!” This went on for hours. And I loved it! It was such a simple thing, but it was such a cool connection between complete strangers. We didn’t know anything about each other except for the fact we were both in that particular place, at that particular time, and we were in it together.
When we finally parted ways to destinations unknown to the other, we bid farewell with a wave and a big smile on both of our faces. To this day, I still think about that drive, and that smile.
What does that story have to do with why I chose photography? I guess it took life smacking me in the face a few times to realize that the sensitivity, utter fascination and humble curiosity with humanity that I have is a gift. Once I started to honor that, everything else began to make sense. What I previously considered my biggest weakness has without a doubt become my biggest strength.
I see so much unfiltered beauty in everyday moments and exchanges. The kind of beauty that often goes unnoticed, and unappreciated. The kind of beauty one wouldn’t normally think twice about. But to me, these ‘ordinary moments’ are anything but. These ordinary moments, when caught through a lens, can be an extraordinary gift. An insight into our humanity. They remind us why we’re here. They help us to appreciate and respect the amazing love we have for each other.
If this is our only go around on this earth, I think it’s really important that we try and appreciate every moment, take a pause, and experience the beauty right in front of our eyes.
Told you it was corny!