Every click of the shutter I ask myself why am I taking this photo? If you’ve seen the episode of Seinfeld where Elaine hoards the “sponges” you’ll really understand when I say, I really ask myself; “is this photo ‘sponge’ worthy?”
For a while I used to take photos for other people. Thinking… “OMG, I can’t wait to post this fabulous photo to Flickr, everyone will think its fabulous!” Then the self doubting of seeing other fabulous photographs overwhelmed me. How can I compete in a world full of such wonderful photographers? Who am I, a self-taught photographer, to think I can be better than anyone else at taking photos? Who doesn’t love to have a creative idea pop into their head, plan the shoot, shoot the images, and then seen that idea printed on paper. It’s a wonderful feeling to create art but also daunting, especially if you tend to be over critical of your own work. So I took a break. When I started to take pictures again it was with instant film. I love the low pressure of instant compared to the need to over process a photo into something perfect when maybe it already was.
Many days, I have to remind myself “comparison is the thief of joy” by Theodore Roosevelt. Looking at so many wonderful photographs from all around the world, it’s easy to get caught up into trying to be better than everyone else, in creating the perfect photo, and in shooting what you think other people want to see. I find it very hard to shoot what I love the most, my kids, and not feel like people are getting bored with seeing my kids. She isn’t that good, she only shoots her own girls. THEN I remember who gives a crap if people are bored. Every photo I take is for me and me alone. This is where the sponge theory really kicks into play. As I sit with my eye behind the lens I ask, what am I going to do with this photo? Is it preserving a memory to look back upon? Let’s be honest… every instant film picture I take cost money, and every digital image cost time. I don’t like wasting our money or my time one something I have no clue what to do with. Sure maybe a photo of some flowers don’t always seen practical, but maybe I want to hang it up in my house or sell the prints. Every photographer has their reasons for shooting a photo, it’s knowing the reason that counts.
This weeks 52 week photo isn’t creative. It’s a photo about being real to myself. R. took the photo of mini.me and I together on her birthday with my Nikon FM 35mm. To most photographers it’s a snapshot, an average photo. BUT I wanted mini.me to know I was present on this special day for her, I want her to have a piece of something that even when I’m gone in many years, she will remember this day.
I loved the look on their faces as they sit behind their birthday cakes, beaming with joy it’s their birthday yet trying to think of a wish!
I love the friendship these two have in each other.
I love that she’s wearing her TKD uniform because she HAD to open her presents before the belt testing.
I just love her face.
I love the missing teeth!
I love how timeless learning about static through balloons can be.
I love how she inspired me to be a stronger person.
I love the quiet moments, and hope the message “i am brave” sinks in.
Love the joy.
I love how through play you can see how the mind works…these two watch too much TV. haha
I love seeing the joy a little effort can make. How when she opens her bedroom on the morning of her birthday she was filled with excitement.
Maybe these photos don’t seem overly exciting to anyone else but me and my family but my two girls are my reason for being. All I try to do is capture our lives in ways which will make everyone look back upon the days and say… “we didn’t have a perfect life, but it was beautiful.”
p.s. All photos taken on Kodak Portra 400 film processed by Old School Photo Lab. The 6×6 photo at the top was taken on a Rolleiflex 3.5F camera, all other images on a Nikon FM 35 mm camera. I’d also like to add, shooting film makes me feel like I am home. While going through the prints trying to decide which images to use for this post, I was over come with joy at how much I have come to love film photography.
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