thinking about photography

i found another amazing photographer to admire. via this great photographer’s site. all images by adam golfer.

i love how you can feel the wind in this photo

i have been happily clicking away on my film camera for the past couple of weeks, and this time around, i have given myself permission to just snap any image that strikes me. it is so easy with film to feel like every image has to be perfect: just the right lighting, the perfect composition, or at least with a clear subject… like it has to be worthy of being caught on film. fighting this impulse is hard, but also made easier by my recent realization that the photos i love most are far from perfect. they’re the ones that magically capture something that is very mundane. like the last two portraits above: they are made amazing by an odd combination of factors–the perfect cast of light across a face, the collection of colors, an interesting perspective. i like that they don’t feel like they are striving for anything. that they feel frank, and honest. a little surprised at being caught.

there has been a lot of chatter on the blog-o-sphere about honesty in photography. i have agreed heartily with much of what has been said. this one in particular.

i think film is fundamentally honest: it will only capture what is in front of the lens and the intent of the person behind it. there’s no cropping, shopping, or other fixing to be done. this is the way life is. there are moments. they are here and then they are gone. sometimes something slips out that you wish hadn’t. sometimes you miss your chance to reach out, to share, to be generous with yourself. sometimes your timing is just right, and everything falls into place. sometimes the tangle of extension cords on your desk is beautiful for no real reason but the way the light is falling on them, entering your eye, being flipped right side up by your brain, all in a split second. it’s miraculous, that beauty.

i am drawn to photography, and my other artistic love, poetry, for this reason. the importance of capturing moments. the beauty of small and fleeting things. having a reason to pause. i like that they can be boring, and somehow it’s just right. i like the reminder that this is life, and it is glorious and plain. we need reminding sometimes.


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