I have lots of creative ideas, but never had the eye-hand coordination or talent to be an artist. I always wanted to create beautiful visual images, but the execution always fell short of the ideal. I received my first camera when I was in grade school and my early photos were dismal. I’m considerably older now, and my camera is much more sophisticated. Back then, the follow-up work involved sending film off to the lab for processing, whereas now I sometimes have to process a bit with Photoshop to enhance the exposure. I enjoy the ability to capture beauty where I find it, though, and photography is simple enough that I can do it; eye hand coordination requirements are fairly low!
I’ve seen other people criticize those who always have a camera in hand, saying that they deliberately put a buffer between themselves and the world. They are criticized for being mere observers rather than joining in. I can only respond, “Yeah, so?” I fail to see the problem. I am ill-at-ease enough in some situations that I really need a buffer between myself and the many people around me. At other times, I just want to capture the intense beauty I see around me, or the personality of those I witness. I have a strong desire to retain a visual memory for all times. And it is probably the only way I can generate beauty. Am I observing rather than joining in? Sure. I am by nature a watcher, studier, and ruminator. I observe; I think. The camera is a perfect medium for me, because it matches my innate personality. If I need to join in, the camera gets set aside. There are some holidays and events that there are rarely photographed in my family, because I’m busy enjoying them.
My camera has two basic lenses: a wide angle and a telephoto zoom. My favorite is the zoom, because I like to see things close up. I have the luxury of seeing the big picture, then zooming in to focus on an area that is fascinating – cutting out the pieces that aren’t needed. I find that I tend to do that sometimes with life, as well. One trip, I had only the wide-angle zoom with me. Scenes that I had photographed before with the zoom looked much different from a larger perspective. Some were enhanced by the wide angle; others were lost. What was a beautiful close-up, couldn’t be found in the context of all the business of a wide-angle shot. It served as a good reminder to view life’s issues the same way – from both the big picture and the near perspective. Both have their strengths, and neither shows the entire story.