Wednesday, July 27, 2011

On Taking Photos


I am delighted to be participating in Kat's "Find Your Eye"....has anyone seen mine?  Have I seen mine?  Is my lens my eye or is my eye on the backside of the camera?  Or has it nothing to do with the camera at all just something that creates an urge to pull out my camera or wish I had brought it along?  Is my eye actually in my heart?

Questions and wondering-I can fill my mind with thoughts, questions, doubts, dreams, until my head gets so busy I forget what I'm doing.  Doesn't Winnie-the-Pooh do that?  Head out in search of something,  get distracted and forget what his initial search was for?....thank goodness Piglet usually goes along-then he's not lost alone, searching for Wuzzles, or honey, or what to do with the stick he's carrying.  Or maybe it's not Pooh, but Rabbit who gets confused, or Owl, or maybe it's Tigger bouncing around so much he's forgotten to think at all.  We'll leave poor Eeyore at rest for now.

What am I supposed to be thinking about?  Oh yes.  Why do I take photos?  If you're tired of reading already, I encourage you to skim read.

I have asked myself this question before.  Why photography?  I still don't know.  Maybe it's just a work in progress and the "why" is really the progress and process of the work.  (OMG that's a very abstract thought for an anal retentive sort like me) I know why I started taking photos.  I was broken hearted and tired of no longer being a worthy musician.  I needed to find a place to expel the creative energy within. I'm working at morphing my creativity from one sense to another-transferring my aural know-how to visual know-how.  Indeed it is a process; at times a frustrating unnatural one. But at other times it's filled with amazement that it is really happening-that it is possible.

Tall Shadows

Therefore I believe I take photos for intrinsic reasons, but totally fessing up to enjoying some extrinsic rewards-those fab comments on my blog or Flickr stream, my friends who say "you have a killer eye" when they mention the images I occasionally post on Facebook, or the couple times I've won the weekly photo contest the local newspaper runs.  I'm good with all that...... 

......but I shoot photos alone and I like that.  I "see" alone, and I talk to myself when I do. I like the chase, especially when the light is golden and beautiful. Taking photos is something I do for myself, and share the results, just a little, with others.

I am frightened about my ability to keep my motivation going.  I've had many dreams and passions that ran their course too quickly....they faded away.  My former interests sit idle, cast aside, while photography now captures my time and it just the passion du jour?  I sense my desire to shoot photos is changing; the honeymoon is winding down.  I need to find what will make this a long term relationship and what will keep it away from the scrap heap of half-fulfilled interests.  I wonder too what that pattern is about.  Sometimes I think I'm afraid to really soar.


I wonder too much...had I mentioned that?  Thanks for listening....and if you happen to see my eye around, let me know.

PS...I am trying to include my "Find Your Eye" posts as part of my photo journal page/tab.  At present the page will not allow me to make multiple posts.  I'm working on that.  Hopefully later entries will be located under my photo journal tab.  If anyone has any quick, easy-to-do hints about that....I'm all ears (pardon the pun).


Dyche Designs said...

Great post and one that I can definitely relate too.

Brenda said...

What a beautiful post. I can relate to the search for both the "eye" and the "why". If I find your eye, will you help locate mine? Thanks for sharing your thought-provoking words.

Rosie said...

This is a wonderful post, Susan, and I do relate to it in more than one ways! Thanks so much for sharing!

Ashley Sisk said...

I like this - ya know, I wondered that too...if this photography obsession was forever or just in passing. I've found that the heat hasn't disappeared and I fall in love with it more and more each day.

Kay L. Davies said...

Dare I suggest you stop wondering about the why of the eye and how long it will last, and just enjoy it? You will know its temporary if it comes to and end, but wouldn't you really hate to know when, in advance?

My husband found his eye fairly late in life. In his late 50s, in fact. Before that, he shot snapshots on "occasions" but knew nothing about composition or even focusing. I'm so glad he fell into photography when he did, because I've had cataract surgery on both eyes, and now have artificial lenses in both. I can't seem to get it right any more, either with or without my glasses.

I think you must be a person with many interests but I don't think you realize what a gift each one is or was, however long it lasted. And who's to say on or all or most won't come back again, and accompany your photography?

I appreciate your skill in this craft and always enjoy your blog.

—Kay, Alberta, Canada

Susan said...

Such a wonderful post! I was so excited to see you were in this course as well! I always enjoy looking at your pictures, as you have such a beautiful and unique take on the world. I love the Pooh and Piglet reference, and am glad you left poor Eeyore alone, for now. :-)

Wanda said...

Yours is the second post I've read among our FYE classmates that discusses shooting alone. I've joined a couple of photo meetup groups because of the companionship and education each offers, but I do find I get better photos if I go back to the venue by myself to see where my lens leads me.

Cedar said...

What other passing interests did you have? Music wasn't a passing interest for you, was it, even if it was taken from you? Does photography feed your soul as another FYE phrased it? Does it matter if it is temporary if it does? I wonder if I will lose interest since it is still new and fresh or that life will just not allow me the time to feed the passion and then I'll lose interest, but any skill (ability to operate the camera) built in this time will remain and so will the photos. You already have many photos to treasure, may you shoot many, many more.

As for shooting alone--you've explained to me why I love taking pictures of flowers or grates or just things! I'm so often not alone and having the desire to document my children means I cannot always shoot alone, but when I'm in the back yard with the kids and they are playing, taking pictures of our flowers means I am alone while with them. I do love my kids, but I love my alone time, too. Photography gives me some.

Kat Sloma said...

Hi Susan, wonderful post. I do love your musings. :) I think that we can't ever predict where and why our passions come and go, but if we follow them with our heart we won't be disappointed. It is only when we start doing things for motivations outside of ourselves that we move off of our passionate path. I am enjoying the journey and the process and seeing where that leads me. So far, so good. Looks like for me and for you!

KC O'Donnell said...

Hi, Susan, love the way you express your thoughts. If I come across your eye while I'm searching for mine I'll let you know. :-)

Thanks for your encuragement over on my site!


lisa said...

Susan, I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed reading this post (3 times!). You have expressed your thoughts so clearly and so well here. Thank you so much for such an enjoyable visit here.

Anita Johnson said...

I go through spells where I don't have time or as much interest in taking picture, but the bug usually grabs me again. I went to an art fair in Ann Arbor this weekend and marveled at what some artists do with their photos. I've been playing around with photo collages....just something different to try with the camera. I'll keep my eyes open for yours.

justine said...

I so relate to everything you say! I love your new blog it looks fantastic and your photographs are as wonderful as ever - I am looking at that wonderful pink sky as I type. Good luck with finding your eye! how is your 365 going? I can't wait to finish now, I'm only on 308 so still a long way to go,

Gilly said...

This is such an interesting post, and I really relate to it. I've had so many passions over the years that have come and gone, and I've sometimes wondered - rather anxiously - if photography would be one of them. I know now that it's here to stay, but my experience of it has evolved and changed.

You say 'the honeymoon is winding down' - well I think it always does, but it leaves the way open for a long-term, deeper love to develop. What I found was that my 'honeymoon' consisted of photographing everything and anything and getting wildly excited about it all. I've now calmed down a bit, and I find I don't take so many shots but I do think more about the ones I take. I've moved on to working in a deeper way, in projects rather than single shots, and that's so much more satisfying than the 'one-shot wonders' that most of my work consisted of. I still enjoy taking some 'one-shot wonders', but after a while you begin to find you need a bit more. Once you have several hundred close-ups of flowers, you start asking yourself if there's any point in adding more to your collection.

The great thing about photography is that there's always something new to learn, something new to try. With the passions that I've had and abandoned, it's been because I'd taken them as far as I could reasonably go and when I stopped learning, I began to lose interest.

My guess is that you've reached the stage where you feel the need for something a bit deeper, and that you're about to move into a new phase. I do hope so - you have a really good eye and it would be a shame not to take that as far you can.

urban muser said...

great post. it sure is something to think about. and hey, new look to the blog? i like it.

Ms. Becky said...

"I am frightened about my ability to keep my motivation going".

that's the sentence that caught my eye. what to do when the muse runs and hides? I have no doubt you will NOT have an on-going battle with motivation to take photos. I believe it has gone under your skin and become a part of you, and you merely need to embrace it. as for the other probing questions, for myself I've long since laid them down when I discovered my answer to them - DO. that simultaneously sums it all up, keeps it simple, and serves to motivate. how much better can it possibly get? you are a dear Susan. and you inspire and motivate me with every single post. you have drive and soul and with those two essential, beautiful qualities, fear doesn't stand a chance.

RainCityGirl said...

You said - Sometimes I think I'm afraid to really soar... I had to think on that phrase a little. Today an inspirational message came to me via my horoscope of all things. It seemed to resonate with me to the point I even was compelled to make it into a little painting this AM. Maybe it will speak to you too:

Even if you don't know where you are going, Focus on what matters.

Right now, that's photography - see where it leads you :)

Iquemon said...

You have a way with words, you said so many things that hit home with me as well. This class is turning out to be so interesting. I enjoyed reading your thoughts and the comments as well.

Francisca said...

A thought-provoking post, Susan. I could say much more, but now it's way past my pillow time. Thank you for sharing.