Photography seems to be a common theme here at Schipul. Other people have even posted about it here previously about what it means to them (see Ed, Katie, CP). It makes sense because we seem to always be taking pictures of what we are up to. Weather we are going to events, supporting awesome clients , or just having fun at the office (dressing like Zombies, wearing ugly Christmas sweaters) we always hear “grab a camera”. The result of all this seems to be a group of geeks with a passion for photography… of which I unknowingly entered almost four years ago.
I say “unknowingly” because I didn’t set out to get in to photography. Like a lot of the best things in life, it kind of just happened. Around this time, four years ago my parents gave me a Canon Rebel while celebrating Christmas in Gatlinburg, TN. Why they chose that, I really don’t know. Maybe I expressed some interest or, more likely, my brother told them he thought I may like it. However it happened, I’m glad I did.
I began experimenting with the camera that day and learning how to use it. My first photos were taken in Gatlinburg shooting trees or snow or lights and also grabbing shots of my family. It started out as a great way to snag a moment on vacation, a way to take a snap shot to jog your memory at a later date and recall that time.
This is probably what photos are to many people, a way to say “oh yeah, that was fun” or “I remember when (insert you event here) happened?”. I take plenty of those photos as well but what has really kind of “hooked” me is the opportunity to capture the entire moment or series of moments throughout an event/trip… sounds, light, feeling, laughing, heat, cold, fun, etc. When I really feel like a photo turned out well, isn’t as much about the clarity, someone’e hair, etc. What is important is producing a photo or set of photos that tells the story. Can a stranger look at a phhoto(s) and feel like they were there?
I see people take pictures all the time and think “when will they look at that again?” and if they do, will it be exciting? It feels like checking an item off a list. Visit New Orleans… check. Drink a Hurricane… check. Take any photo on Bourbon street… check.
*Disclaimer – I understand these are sometimes necessary and end up taking some myself. My wife is great at taking “people” pictures and encouraging me to do the same. It’s just fun to push the creativity on those “check list” shots when possible.
*Tangent with no disclaimer – cell phone videos at concerts fall in to a similar category. Those can’t possibly be good the next day right?
I think more people are finding the same opportunity push their photos with better equipment more easily accessible and with new technology like Instagram or Hipstamatic. These tools let people express themselves through the photos and show their experience rather than just a snap shot. It actually triggers those emotions without needing to remember back and say “oh yeah”. Not every one is a fan of the “altered” photos or filtered effects but I love the opportunity it creates and the creativity that comes from it. One of my favorite examples is Matthias Heiderich, or Heartbeatbox on flickr.
In an interview on the flickr blog, he commented:
“The series is purely artistic, meaning that I’m taking artistic freedom to edit and design photos in the way that I like them personally.”
Why it became a hobby of mine exactly? Who knows. It’s like anything… did I like going to school in Austin because it fit my personality? Or was my personality shaped by going to school in Austin? Did being around photography enthusiast open up the idea of taking photos or did I say something to my brother one day because it sounded interesting? Probably a little from column A and a little from column B.
Maybe it all goes back to experiencing new things and extends to capturing and sharing those experiences. I also don’t know how photography and people’s need to view and share photos became what it is or the social factors were invovled to make photos so popular.
All I know is that I’m thankful we have photos and people taking them.
And I’m thankful for:
- My parents for giving me that Rebel camera
- My brother (who knows a thing or two about cameras) for showing me how to use the thing
- My wife, Brooke for always stopping with me to take photos on trips
- Schipul for encourages us to take more photos
- Everyone who has let me take and share their photo
Let’s be friends on flickr!