Does Photography Keep The Photographer From Seeing and Feeling?

by Mike on December 25, 2009

Photography, Seeing and Feeling

Yesterday, after finishing about an hour of photos around sunrise, I was eating a protein bar and the thought came to me:

Did taking photos this morning keep me from experiencing the world in front at that moment?

It was a beautiful morning on the Halifax River in Ormond Beach Florida. Almost 60 degrees at 7 am and a bright sunrise. I shot photos from the west bank of the river at sunrise and then came over to the east bank for more.

What I’m wondering now is when I put the camera to my eye, did I miss the experience of the scene? It was a peaceful morning, but I spent most of my time looking for the right shot, the perfect shot. How much peace did I experience? The answer is very little.

When I approached the park, the Thursday morning weekly Farmer’s Market was open. I ignored that for the most part and stepped to the rail along the river. That’s where I spent most of my time. As I walked to the rail, I experienced fleeting peace, but just for a moment before I pulled out the camera and went to work.

When I look at the images from that morning, I look at them with a critical eye. Is the light, the composition and the subject right? It reminds me of the story about his experience as a river boat pilot on the Mississippi. Mr. Twain says that before he became a pilot, the river was beautiful and mysterious and he enjoyed his voyages. After he became a pilot, the river because a problem to navigate; avoiding shoals, shifting sands and fighting currents. The river lost its beauty and charm.

Now, I love photography and I’m not going to put the camera. I am going to attempt to change how I see. Next time I go to capture the essence of a scene or event, I am going to experience and feel before the camera comes out of the bag. I believe it may improve my photography and my approach to life.

I’ll post my progress as I go.

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