A Holiday Essay for Photographers

A Holiday Essay for Photographers

The holidays can be hard for people. I understand this. So my advice is to focus on things you enjoy v. concentrating on things (or relationships) you DO NOT have. Also, following your passion is a great way to feel better. So – with all that:

A word of encouragement and a lesson:

I want to share just how precious each millimeter of each frame of each photograph is to me.

When I first put my eye up to the camera, each and every time, I am reminded of what it felt like to be a little boy opening a Christmas gift. It still feels that way. I get lost in the viewfinder and many human infirmities simply seem to disappear.

It’s as if I am about to go on a journey. I am searching for something. Looking for a moment in time that is precious, special and unique and I seek it out so that I might protect the memory of that moment for myself and others.

When I find that moment, I try to settle into it. I try to block out everything else. I try to be as honest and open with my feelings as I can be. I try to “feel” my way to the photograph. My focus is not on the camera but the story and the obligation I feel to tell it. Not just to tell it, but to tell it well. I wait, I listen, I feel, I experience the “zone” and then I seek the perfect shot.

I try as best I can to get out of the way of the story. I let the story tell itself. I move slowly, deliberately, carefully, trying not to unbalance the harmony of that perfect moment. As someone who’s old and has experience, I realize that the space between the notes is where music really happens and so it goes for a photograph. It’s often the negative space, the things I choose NOT to include in the frame, that helps tell the perfect story.

For photography to be practiced at the highest level, we have to seek the perfect photo with our hearts, not with our minds. Once I realized that, everything changed for me. Maybe it will help you too?

You don’t need to be the biggest, the strongest, the prettiest, or the richest to succeed in photography. You don’t need the best camera, lens or software. All you need is heart.

Someone out there is struggling with their photography right now. Someone out there needs to know that it’s okay to use photography as a vehicle to share their emotions. It won’t resonate on the chat forums and it won’t get you social media followers, but giving into it will make you a high priest or priestess of memory protection. And that may be the biggest gift of all this holiday season.


I’m rooting for you and Happy Holidays.

5 Responses

  1. A beautifully written piece. This, coupled with the comments and suggestions you made during your review of my portfolio at The Festival of the Cranes last month, gives me much encouragement and my skills and confidence have already improved. Thank you.

  2. Thanks Scott. Every time I pick up my camera part of m goes back to holding my Dad’s in the 1980’s. I remember learning to load film and read the light meter on the old Canon EF with my Dad’s guidance. That is the magic I still get from holding any camera…and the joy of passing it on to my kids…priceless.

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