For many years I have enjoyed taking photos. I don’t know if I would call what I do ‘photography’ because that term seems to imply a greater level of skill and perhaps following more rules than I apply to the photos I take. I have many albums of photos from years ago, including some black and white photos and a couple of shoe boxes of loose photos. I enjoy doing scrap booking from time to time.
It is wonderful to be in the age of digital photography. Before owning a digital camera I would take 4 or 5 shots of the same scene to ensure I got at least one good clear shot. When I went on holidays I would have to take several rolls of film and then there was the expense of getting them developed. It is easier to store hundreds of digital photos. When I want to take a suitable shot for an article I am writing I can do it straight away and use the photo immediately. I also like the ease of editing photos.
I decide what to photograph by following the suggestion made by David Allio, ‘Photograph what makes you happy. It may not have value to anyone else, but it will have value to you.’ I love to take photos of nature and of places I have visited. These places may not be far from home. When I look at the photos I get a great deal of pleasure. Looking at photos of natural environments helps me relax.
When people will let me I like to take happy snaps of family and friends. These photos are some of my most precious possessions. Looking at photos of family and friends brings back many memories.
Taking photos is a very personal thing and what appeals or is amusing to me may not be to someone else. Sometimes taking a close up photo of something can be similar to writing a short poem. I focus in on a detail with the camera just as I would use a few words to describe a particular detail as I write a poem. A photo can also inspire me to write a poem.
Taking a photo can be a bit like keeping a diary. For some purposes it records more than words. As the saying goes, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words.’ It is fascinating to look back at photos of house renovations and see the before, ‘work in progress’ and after shots.
I like to take photos of the same place but at different times of the day, in different weather conditions, in different seasons and a few years apart. How different things can look but without the photographic record I wouldn’t remember. The brain is wired to update information so it is natural to forget much of the detail of how something looked in the past.
When I go somewhere with my camera I find I take more notice of the world around me as I look, really look for things to photograph. I think the following quote is very true:
‘To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place.’ Elliot Erwitt