I don’t know why most photographers take pictures. I only know that for me, photography is a practice – a repeated activity at first simply done to “get better,” or achieve mastery, and then later for its own sake. When I practiced singing for 13 years, after a certain point I continued practising just because the singing felt good. And the more I did it, the the less I learned about being a “good” singer, and the more I learned about the infinite possibilities of making sound vibrations with my body.
With photography, I’m learning about how the world looks. One of my photography practices is taking photos of my kitchen sink. The world of my kitchen sink is AMAZING and unending. Just saying.
I just ate my lunch. And before that, I cooked my lunch. And during that time (the cooking), I took a bunch of spontaneous, random photographs of my kitchen sink.
Taking photographs is one of my favorite things to do. I can lose myself for hours, taking photographs.
Sometimes I look at other people’s photos, and I wonder how mine fit. Because everyone’s photographs have to fit into some kind of absolute photography spectrum, right?
Okay, I’m joking. But sometimes I really do wonder how my photographs fit.
I know I’m not a professional. I don’t get paid for my photos (except maybe for ones like these, that I take for work, on work time. Technically, I got paid to take those. Just saying.)
But I also know (because some really kind people have told me so) that the photographs I take are… well, at least interesting. If not downright good.
I don’t really care about the technical part of photography. As in, I know what f-stops and exposures and lens numbers are. I used to take film photographs with a vintage Canon SLR.
But I don’t really care about the technical stuff. And I don’t care (at least, not right now) about getting proficient with those things the way that I imagine professional photographers need to be proficient, in order to take really, predictably, good photographs.
I just like to look.
I like to look, and I like to see things in new ways. So if I can point a device at a scene, and push a button, and maybe push some more buttons a little further along in the process, and come up with something that startles me, or enchants me, or thrills me, then I’m happy. Doesn’t take much.
What are you trying to say, Michelle? I’m not sure. I guess just that I spend a lot of my time taking photographs. It’s important to me. I like seeing things in new ways. I like exploring my world.
And (more and more) lately, I like sharing what I do.
I also like best (and this is added as almost an afterthought) any photography that is expressive. I’m thinking my photography is kind of expressive, if nothing else.
All of the photographs in this post were taken with the Hipstamatic iPhone app.
I was at my parents’ place this week, and as I pulled into their driveway I noticed that the crabapple trees lining the street were dropping their fruit.
There are two varieties: Ones like the tree on my parents’ property, that have grudgingly tiny blueberry-sized crabapples, and ones like their neighbour’s gracious tree, that have massive, cherry-tomato-sized crabapples. Before I left (it was pouring rain when I arrived), I took some photos of the windfalls.
One summer when my niece was small – maybe two or three – the family was visiting Grandma and Grandpa’s, and Aunt Michelle was charged with watching the kids in front of the house. My niece noticed the crabapples lying on the pavement nearby, and went over to take a look.
She crouched down, picked up one of the brilliant red fruits… and immediately put it in her pocket.
It was so funny to watch her. She obviously valued the crabapples very highly, but was at an age when precious treasures might be swiftly taken away for all sorts of unexplained and unfathomable reasons. So when she thought no-one was looking, she silently and surreptitiously filled every available pocket of her tiny pink jeans with crabapples. First the front pockets. Then, when those were crammed full and bulging ridiculously, the back ones.
Her pants were so fat with fruit that she could hardly bend over. And still she kept gathering more – filling her left hand with as many as her tiny fingers could hold, while her right hand plucked new and superlative beauties from the ground.
I felt such tenderness for her in that moment. I could vividly and painfully remember the childish impulse to hoard something so beautiful all for myself. So while Mommy or Grandma might have unceremoniously emptied her pockets, saying “No, dirty! Put those down…,” Aunt Michelle looked the other way, and let a little girl enjoy the thrill of unexpected bounty for as long as possible.
©2011, Michelle Lynne Goodfellow. All rights reserved.