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day 2 – through the viewfinder

November 2, 2008

My mom spent the whole weekend with me and it was pure joy having her here for the first time.  We explored my neighborhood, slowly wandered leafy mountain paths, stopped in cafes for lattes and sweet treats, made homemade pizza, enjoyed red wine and episodes of Sex and The City as she crocheted and I struggled through yesterday’s blog post until 11:30pm.

This morning, as we were leafing through old photo albums, I noticed that I no longer look at photos the same way.  I used to notice the facts… there is a picture of Michelle making a goofy face and peace signs, here is Christina on the washing machine with aviator glasses, there I am blowing out candles on a birthday cake.  But this time around, as I looked at the photos taken by my father during our childhood, I saw details… art… the light coming in through the window, the shadows playing in the puddle, the stunning composition, the candid moments so perfectly captured (I took a few from the albums, which I plan to share with you as soon as I get my hands on a scanner).

The first bank loan my father ever took was for a camera.  Back in those days, photography certainly wasn’t as cheap and accessible as it is today.  Still, my dad built his own darkroom in our basement and spent years snapping photos of us.  He could transform a room or a big rock in the woods into a portrait studio and we would each take turns in front of the camera (a Nikon, I believe).  I still remember him setting up a bench in our living room in the yellow house with plants all around and lamps for lighting. I don’t know why he stopped shooting but it is a shame, because he used to have such an eye for it.

My dad and I may not agree on many things, but I am grateful for the memories he captured in photos and it seems his passion didn’t end when he stopped clicking because the man passed it on to me.  Ever since I got my first digital camera in 2005, my finger has been on the shutter almost every day.  I am hooked.  Hooked on my Rebel, hooked on Flickr, hooked on my Kodak Duaflex, hooked on Shutter Sisters.  H.O.O.K.E.D.  And it works for me.

Lately, I’ve especially been obsessed with shooting from the ground.  Short of lying flat on the pavement to see through the viewfinder, you don’t really know what you are going to get when you place your camera on the ground and blindly press the shutter.  You hope that something good will come of it but you really haven’t a clue until you start uploading your photos.

There is much excitement in witnessing what magic transpired without any control on your part.  It is an exercise in letting go, in finding beauty in the unexpected, in pure play.  My kind of photography.

I’m still an amateur, so far from being the photographer I aspire to be.  I find myself feeling jealous of fifteen-year old flickerites shooting photos that blow mine out of the water. What can I say?  I am a late bloomer.  But I suppose that if I kept comparing myself to others all day long and listening to the critical gremlins in my head, I would never pick up my camera again.  I could never enjoy the simple pleasures of learning and experimenting and improving.

My photos are whispers for now, but they are still my favorite form of expression.  How do you like to express yourself?

I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.” – Diane Arbus

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 3, 2008 2:29 am

    late bloomers are where it is at 🙂 http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/10/20/081020fa_fact_gladwell

    lately people have been telling me how courageous i am to be following my dreams and starting my business ~ its weird because i don’t feel courageous, i feel like it took me forever to get to this place, late bloomer but then i think maybe its not all that easy to be a late bloomer, maybe it does take some courage to step out of your path and head down another, to challenge yourself when you no longer need to but your heart compels you too … maybe there is something beautiful in that … you see different … maybe this is a post for me all on its own, lol …. woo nablo

    i like the way you see, these are beautiful photos!! glad you had such a lovely time with your mom, xo

  2. November 3, 2008 11:52 am

    Your photos are so beautiful!

    My main form of expression: snappy comebacks and my journal writing 🙂

  3. November 3, 2008 2:30 pm

    Gorgeous! I love taking photographs, but I really love making things – cross stitching is my current addiction.

  4. Alison permalink
    November 3, 2008 5:30 pm

    Every precious second I spent with you was a true gift. I’m still learning about life and seeing it anew through your eyes and I love it. Thank you!

    I suppose that my crocheting, albeit from store bought patterns, would be my way of expressing myself.

  5. November 5, 2008 11:11 am

    I found you today via shuttersisters and I’m glad I did. i will be back to visit again.

    This post is beautiful to me – both in word and images. The memories of your dad and the special time with your mom sort of remind me of a post i made a while back.

    http://autumnsun08.blogspot.com/2008/10/best-photos-ever.html

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