Would you agree with me if I say that photography is a way of life? It is the way you deal with your life. You then express it through digital photos or printed images. Maybe not for others. But for me — though I’m not a photographer by profession — photography is my way of expressing the way I see life and the way I deal with it.
Let’s take a closer look…
A photographer is a photographer not because of the high-end camera hanging in her neck. She is a photographer because of her vision. Because of the way she sees life around her. Because she notices. Photographers are noticers of beauty. Of emotion. Of art. If I lack vision, how can I capture and freeze beauty from a speeding life?
Imagine your life if you don’t have the vision that sees the beauty everywhere? What would you see instead? Probably, the ugly, the undesirables, the negative things. Would you like to freeze those ugly moments forever, making them permanent?
Your vision is your paradigm in life. It is your belief system. Some people embrace the TO SEE IS TO BELIEVE paradigm. For others like me, I prefer the TO BELIEVE IS TO SEE perspective in life.
What are you seeing right now? How is your vision? What do you believe?
Have you seen a photo, any photo? What do you see inside the frame? Did you know that the photographer is the one responsible in whatever you see inside the frame? She decides whether to show the trees or the skies or the colored lights as the background when taking photo of you. If she doesn’t want a background, she may take a close up shot.
She also decides where to position her subject. No matter how you position yourself while your friend is looking at you through the view finder, she always decides whether you will appear at the center or at the side or anywhere in the frame. Or whether you will appear or not. 😊
How do you compose your life? What do you include in the frame? When someone looks at your life for inspiration — like a person looking at a photograph, what will he see? What have you composed? What have you included in the frame of your life?
Although the composition of my photo is influenced by my vision — by my ability to see the beauty around me, it is also influenced by the lenses I use. My wide-angled lens see the big picture; my telephoto lens can shoot closeup beautifully but can’t see the panoramic view around me; my macro lens lens is best in shooting insects and their tiny world.
One time, when I forgot to bring my standard lens (15-85mm focal lenght), and all I had was my prime 50mm lens with me, I felt very limited. Even though I had the vision to see the wide scenery that surrounds me, without a wide-angled lens, I cannot capture them. I couldn’t take a good shot of two to three people in a narrow space. In a small dining room, my 50mm lens can cover only the face of one person, not the whole family. With my 15mm lens, I can cover them all in one frame.
I witness some people who always use their mental telephoto lenses to see a bright future. But their telephoto lens can’t capture the wide scenery of current reality that surrounds them. They become too idealistic, seeing only the “must be” but never the reality.
We can choose what lens we want to use. But we must at least consider other possible perspectives that can be seen through other lenses. I prefer the 50mm lens. I love the artistic blurry background it creates. Yet, whenever I want to capture a wide scenery, a landscape or seascape, I have to put down my preferred lens for a while — for a while! — to use a wide lens, a more appropriate lens for capturing the result I want, the wide scenery.
Every time I use my Sweet35 Lensbaby, I struggle. Because that lens is manual. Having no automatic focus, I need to rely on my own eyes to adjust the sharpness. Wrong adjustment will blur the subject, and will make the background sharper.
In life, I also have to rely on my own sense of focus. If I focus on money, or material things or other temporary things, I lose clear sight of the more important things in life — my relationships, faith, health, growth, service to others.
In photography, if I don’t see the subject clearly, I know I have to adjust my focus. I remember many times I relied on automatic focus of my camera only to be frustrated after seeing the final photo that my subject is blurred, and her background is sharp. Then it’s too late. The moment is gone. I can no longer repeat it. I have to wait for another chance, for the next opportunity.
Sometimes, in life, after some reflections, I realize that I focused too much on the non-essentials, making my relationship with others, my growth, my faith in God — the more important matters in life — become blurred.
How about you, what is your life’s focus right now? Is your money or fame sharper than your relationships with others and with yourself?
What vision do you see for this coming year — 2017? What do you want to compose that will serve as inspiration to others? What lenses are you going to use? What will be your focus?