Winter has lasted extra long here in Montana. It even snowed today, but we had a brief moment of sunshine this weekend and made our way to the river. The weather was perfect for a couple of hours, and I was again captured by the beauty around me that I often disregard day-to-day.
The contrast of winter turning to spring so blatantly, right in front of my eyes, inspired me to pull out my camera and get shooting. Of course, it also inspired J to pull out his fishing rod and catch a few.
Honestly, this little excursion was a big deal to me. I have been feeling less and less creative over the past couple of years. I don’t measure up to the National Geographic photographers whose images I admire. I can’t help but think I’m not even worthy of posting my photos in comparison to photographers I know. And, yes, I know – don’t compare yourself to others! It only matters how you feel about your art! Tra-la-la-well that’s easy to say and hard to do.
Beyond all that, work – my job – has been a roller-coaster, and I rarely feel settled enough to relax into this hobby I used to love. I don’t think I had picked up a full-featured camera (besides snaps on my iPhone) for at least 6 months. So, as I was sitting on the rocks soaking in some sun, watching J cast across the water, I pondered what photography was to me.
You know what I realized? (This is going to be profound…)
Photographs are memories. MY photographs are MY memories. When I look back at what I’ve taken, I love that I can remember that day more vividly. I can remember those places and events so much better since I have some photos. I remember taking that shot, walking across the mud for that view, struggling with the settings on my newly acquired film camera to try and get that photo. My cousin eye-rolling my suggestions for senior portrait poses, but still giving them a shot and rocking it. J laughing at me for hanging out of the car window to get the angle I want.
Yes, some of my photos are “good.” A few are even print-worthy haha, and those do make me happy. I am proud of the great shots. But, more importantly, they are still my own memories. I can remember taking them. Editing them to show off what my eye saw and the camera failed to recognize in the dusky light. That is the real treasure. These are pieces of my own life and that is all that matters.
I’m looking forward to rekindling the joy I used to find in photography. For me.