“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching,
of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever … it remembers
little things long after you have forgotten everything.” Aaron Sussman
We are all photographers – any of us who have
picked up a camera, and snapped a photograph. Why do we do it? Often, to capture
the moment. It’s fleeting, yet forever, once we’ve recorded that image on film
or flash card.
A few shots taken during a visit with relatives
or friends can become precious if that was the last time we saw those people
alive. Yet, at the time, it might have seemed as if there would be other times. Such was the
case when my dad and I visited my uncle and aunt in 2003. Dad died later in 2008,
and my aunt and uncle died this past fall. I recorded the 2003 visit with a digital
camera. I cherish the shots of all of us enjoying an afternoon together.
|Aunt Joan and Uncle Bob
||Uncle Bob and Dad
|Cousin Gillian and Dad
||Dad and Maureen
Photography is also a tool to awaken us to seeing.
When we look through the lens, framing a small portion of the available view, it
reminds us that life is about perspective – how we view it. Twenty photographers
can be shooting at the same location, and not one of those photos will be
identical. One or two may capture a unique and mind-blowing shot – often
taken because the photographer was able to shift his or her view to somewhere other
than the “norm”.
Photography is a great metaphor for life: it’s all
about one’s point of view – which can be shifted. Admittedly, it’s easier for me
to tilt my camera, or get down on my knees to shoot a flower, than it is for me
to change my view of a sister who won’t talk to me.
There are lots of simple guidelines to help us
create better and more memorable images of occasions.
Here are a few:
Photograph the details. On vacation, take shots of
menus, the food (close-ups), signposts, ticket stubs, local maps, etc. These
shots will help you remember the experience more fully.
|Photograph your journey, and the locals (taken on the bus driving from the aiport)
|Take photographs of people on your trip
|Photograph details of your trip (National Geographic Cruise. Panama, Costa
||Picnic table: Interesting and humorous details can
be fun to include in your photo album (signs indicating picnic table, and water faucet beside said
items amused us)
Get the overview shots too, using a wide angle
lens: the view from your room, streets scenes, etc.
Take photographs of people on your trip - ask permission if you
have eye contact. (Panama airport).
Take candid photos of your party, as well as
getting a tourist to photograph your group in front of the landmarks. Take
photos of the locals, where possible. Some of these will be candid shots, though
asking permission to shoot interesting locals eye-to-eye is also good. These
interactions can be precious, and will add not only to your album, but to your
And don’t forget to write notes on your journey
that can be added as comments to the photos.
Photography is a wonderful tool to enhance our
life experience, and share with our loved ones. When we need a pick-me-up on
a rainy day, what’s better than to pull out our albums, and remember all the love
and joy that we have experienced.