31 Days to a Better Photo

At the moment, this  is going to be a wild and rambling type of entry, if it actually ever gets published. It might stay private, it might not. I feel guilty when I start projects, post about them here and then and I don’t finish them. But really, do I want to spend 30 days getting more organized? Nope. No way. Not at all. I have lived with a cluttered bathroom for 40+ years. Another year like that isn’t going to kill me.

But if I could spend 31 days working on better photographs, well, that is something I would love to do. So here I am, starting yet another photographic journey. I found this blog: My3boybarians  and Darcy, the author of the blog, has a section on how to take better photos, so here I am.

Day One:
Darcy tells this heart rending story of taking rolls of film while traveling through Europe and the film is destroyed by the X-ray screening at the airport. I can’t imagine that feeling of loss, of moments you can never get back.  But then, she talks about about how it is not only moments like backpacking in Europe but the every day moments that can get lost in our memories. I know that when my babies were born, I swore that I would never forget a minute, a millisecond of their lives.  Now, they share stories from way back when that I can barely remember.

Darcy’s advice is like a Nike commercial: Take the photo. Just do it! She implores the reader:

Always, always take the photo. You will never get a second chance at that moment. It’s a simple one, clearly. But how many times have you meant to bring the camera but didn’t?

Too many times. And too many times that my kids sighed and said “no pictures, Mom. ” All of those moments of them laughing, or pouting, or reading, or playing with our dog, who is no longer with us, they could have been recorded, not as great masterpieces but as great moments of Life.

The blog author asks:

When did you realize how much you loved photos? What motivates you to love your images?

I honestly have not loved photos until I had my kids, and even then, those moments I recorded were of the “milestone type.” Birthdays crowded around a cake.  Lined up in Halloween costumes. Saying “cheese.” I didn’t have the respect for photos at all even before then. My mom threw all of our photos in a big, jumbled cardboard box from Bamberger’s. Not that I wanted to look through them when I was younger, since  I would feel that same awkwardness of being posed and unnatural as the time they were shot.

I recently started scanning negatives and old photos of my mother’s family from the 1940’s. The history of these photos go far beyond that moment in time, captured on film. They contain the sense of family, of history, of  love and time and all of the stories I have heard from my mom for so many years. Some day, my kids are going to look at those awkward photos of me in the 70’s wearing knee high socks and shorts.  Or they’ll laugh as they see my hair bigger than the rest of my body from the 80’s.  But I will bet that they don’t see them in the same light as I do, but they will appreciate them  as a moment of their family lines.

Someday, I am going to have grandchildren, and I hope that they will have more photos of their mom and dad that they can laugh at and learn, and love.

I guess I didn’t really answer the question, but it doesn’t matter. What gets to the heart of myself as a photographer is to capture moments, bits and pieces of life to share with my family and friends and with their families and friends. Some moments are going to be special and note-worthy:  graduations,  birthdays weddings, and babies. Others might not seem so important to the casual observer: trying a new food (as a teenager!), playing with a pet, reading, missing a boyfriend and maybe even seeing a brother and sister laughing together. Because life isn’t made up of milestones. There are lots of pebbles, bits and pieces of life’s confetti and debris each and every day.

That’s what photos mean to me.

 

 

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