Every once in a while, someone asks me if I still love photography. After all I have been practicing photography for more than four decades. While I have had moments in my life when I tried to put my camera down, the answer is absolutely. Yes, I still love photography. The question made me ponder why. Why DO I love photography? I was forced to embrace my softer side to answer that question. And the answer may surprise some who think they know me.
Outwardly, I exhibit a hard edge most of the time. It’s a persona – it’s not the whole me. It’s just a habit I developed decades ago when I was on broadcast radio. It makes for good ratings. There are times when people think that’s all there is to me. But they’re wrong. I am a whole person and in this post, I willingly share the side of me you usually don’t share.
The truth is, when it comes to photography, I feel like a little kid again. While my body is old and tired, when I have a camera in my hand, my brain seems to be unaware of my physical limitations.
When making pictures, I can romp around with the best of them – especially if I am working a subject I am passionate about, or telling story with my camera that I think others may enjoy. I don’t seem to notice my numerous medical problems. I only see the image I am going for. Everything else just drifts away.
Sports figures often call this being in the zone. Creatives can just as easily find a zone. I do it all the time. It’s the best part of my life. When I am “camera in hand,” visiting beautiful places, photographing beautiful things, telling beautiful stories, I am filled with gratitude, joy, happiness, faith, compassion, love, purpose, optimism, empathy, and awe.
No other activity brings me such satisfaction. I am just wired to be at my best when I have a camera in my hand. Like all human beings, I am flawed, heavily so. In fact, I am as far from perfect as you can ever get and still be in the parking lot. I am the least among you. No doubt about it. But when I have a camera in hand, I am closer to my purpose and perfection than I will otherwise ever be – at least while still walking this earth. If you can find that thing in your life, whatever it is, that thing that makes you the best YOU that you can be, grab on to it and don’t let go. For me, it’s photography.
All of this makes me very lucky. I know my purpose. I am to capture, protect, keep and share images that move me and hopefully others. If for only a brief moment in time, I can use photography to see and remember beauty and joy. A person could do far worse in life.
No matter who you are. No matter your gender, age, color or creed. No matter what you and I think of the issues of the day. No matter how much we agree or disagree, if you love photography like I do, THEN we have a common ground between us that is stronger than anything else. Just think what could happen if we could all use our love of photography to build bridges between ourselves and others on a regular basis. That would create a whole new reason to love photography.
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