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If you’ve had a camera in your hand since you were a child, stop and consider how that camera helped to shape your future. How did it bring you to where you are today?
There are a few ways that your childhood love of photography may have inspired the future of your photography.
As a child, you were a natural explorer. There is a lot to explore in this world, and there is a good chance that whatever you loved to explore as a child still inspires you today. Some kids grab a camera and sneak a bunch of candid photos. Others go to where the action is or discover the macro world that is usually invisible to the eye.
You explore, then study your photos, then explore some more. A photograph anchors you in the experience you had as a child and keeps calling you back to continue the adventure.
There was a lot to hold us back as kids. But the joy of growing up is the ability to step out the door and explore the world around us.
As a child, it may not have been that you brought your camera on adventures, but that it was your camera bringing you on an adventure!
Along with exploration is the ability to see. Seeing doesn’t just mean looking. Seeing means piercing deeper than the surface level scene in front of you. It’s noticing patterns and humor and beauty.
With a camera in your hand, you look at the world in a different way. That deeper ability to see shaped you as you grew up. No doubt, your friends and people you work with are fascinated by the unusual things that you notice.
You don’t just see, you imagine. You bring your imagination to life for all to see through the images (photographs) you make.
“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” Dorothea Lange
Think about this medium that you discovered as a kid. You explore and bring your imagination to life. Through print or a digital medium, you get to show everyone else what you saw. You can make a portrait of your father and pass it on for countless generations. It doesn’t have to be a standard portrait either, but your father as you saw him and knew him.
Through photography, you transfer the image in your mind into the minds of people you may never meet.
The heightened attention that you learned as a child makes life meaningful today. Not only did you learn to see but you learned to capture that on film (or pixels). You could sneak into any situation and come away with a little slice of the moment to carry with you.
Even when you don’t have your camera, you can look at a scene and know this is a moment worth capturing. You can stay in the moment, recognizing something special, knowing this is a moment to be savored.
“Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.” Marc Riboud
If I could write a letter to my childhood self, I’d thank the little guy for pressing on with photography even when nothing really worked out for him.
Have you lost your sense of exploration and adventure? Is your life consumed with work and monotonous routine? Think back to when you were a kid. What adventure would that camera take you on today? What experience is there around the corner to savor?
Charge your batteries, clean your lenses and fall in love with photography all over again.
Taking pictures is like tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo cookies.” Diane Arbus