Photography takes you to a deeper level

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On the last night of an 8-week course, my photography students knew they would have a chance to explain their personal motivation for creating photographs. Throughout the course, we had looked at a variety of topics but one theme that was constant was to look inward and begin to uncover what drives the desire to photograph.

It’s an important, although difficult question for each photographer to grapple with. It’s a given that we all love to make beautiful pictures. But part of our growth is to connect the emotions and deep values that reside within us to the subjects viewed through our lens. As Freeman Patterson famously reminds us, the camera sees both ways and, when we realize that our photographs tell as much about our subjects as ourselves, we begin to make photographs that are more personally meaningful.

Near the end of the evening, it was time to begin the conversation and they were ready. One person volunteered, “I see things I never used to see and stop to photograph them when others just pass by”. Another explained that photography provided him with the opportunity to express his individuality and creativity, recognizing that his pictures captured a moment that only he could see. The next described how, as she photographs, she learns more about herself. In recognizing what is important to her, and in finding ways to express it, she is on a journey of self-discovery. Another photographer remembered a photo of his father which masterfully combined light, expression and pose, all at the perfect moment. That photo still inspires him today.

This whole scenario played out a second time for me, in an equally meaningful way, with my second class.

Heady stuff. Who ever thought that picking up a camera would be as simple as pointing and shooting? After hearing from everyone, we enjoyed looking at a celebratory slide show that featured three photos from each photographer. It brought a successful course to a satisfying conclusion.

So, you might ask, why do I photograph? Well, as one of the students said, “The third reason I photograph is because I enjoy it.” Ditto. Love it! There is such joy in recording a moment and sharing it with others. But going a little deeper, I love to find beauty in the world, from deep within a flower to the evening light reflecting on a mountain, to the joy on the face of a fellow human, big or small. In so doing, I hope to remind others of the gifts that God has given us.

And so now I ask you, why do you photograph? I’d love to hear your thoughts too.

Below is one image from each student in the class, followed by our slide show. We all hope you enjoy.

 

portraiture
I photograph to capture the beauty of people. Kamy
photography teaches me about myself.
When I photograph, I’m learning about myself. Erin
I photograph to capture the mood, the emotion or the impression of that moment in time. By Phil.
I photograph to capture the mood, the emotion or the impression of that moment in time. Phil

 

I photograph to capture the emotions of people in special moments. Tracy.
I photograph to capture the emotions of people in special moments. Tracy
I photograph the many activities I'm part of and look for continuos improvement in my photos. Tim.
I photograph the many activities I’m part of and look for continuos improvement in my photos. Tim
I photograph to enjoy the beauty of the little things that I used to miss. Spanky.
I photograph to enjoy the beauty of the little things that I used to miss. Spanky
I love to combine the science with the art of photography. Sean.
I love to combine the science with the art of photography. Sean
I love to connect with people through portrait photography. Melissa.
I love to connect with people through portrait photography. Melissa
Photography is a passion that gives me a new sense of purpose. Mel.
Photography is a passion that gives me a new sense of purpose. Mel
As a nature lover, I photograph to share the joy of the beauty around us. Liz.
As a nature lover, I photograph to share the joy of the beauty around us. Liz
I seek to record the moments that make people stop and gasp. Joe.
I seek to record the moments that make people stop and gasp. Joe
Photography provides me with a way to continually learn. Helmi.
Photography provides me with a way to continually learn. Helmi
I love the impact of a compelling image and photography pushes me to create them. Fred.
I love the impact of a compelling image and photography pushes me to create them. Fred
As an avid hiker, photography allows me to enjoy natural beauty whether I'm on the trail or not. Erin.
As an avid hiker, photography allows me to enjoy natural beauty whether I’m on the trail or not. Erin.
I photograph so that I can continually improve my technique. Ryan
Photography allows me to express my world in an artistic way. Ryan

 

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