I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love photography. It was always my dream to become a photographer, but since it was an expensive hobby to get into I didn’t really start taking pictures until I was in my mid twenties. Once I picked up my first SLR camera it was always in front of my face as I attempted to capture the perfect photo.
To improve my skills both technically and creatively I took a few classes, attended workshops and seminars and read countless books and forums so that I could learn how to get my photos to look just how I wanted them to.
Once I had children my efforts continued. I wanted to capture every sweet candid moment whether it was during a typical day, birthday party, holiday or family gathering. And I didn’t want to just capture it, I wanted it be a great photograph. During this time I also starting taking pictures professionally, so if I wasn’t taking pictures of my own family or someone else’s I was editing images or reading something to improve my skills.
Fast-forward a few years and all of a sudden I wasn’t so in love with photography.
Not only had photography taken over my life with all the time dedicated to doing it professionally and always trying to learn more, but my camera had become a filter though which I was experiencing my life. I was missing out on conversation with friends and family because I had the camera in front of my face while they were all chatting over a cup of coffee. I missed the look on my son’s face as he was opening his birthday presents because I was busy with my camera. Everything was becoming a “photo op” instead of what it really was. Time to spend with my people.
I decided that I would much rather have fuzzy memories of my life than a bunch of pictures of things that I really didn’t fully experience because I was too busy trying to take a picture of it. I wanted to be THERE, present in my life, and not behind a camera. I wanted to experience my life, not just take another picture of it.
I haven’t stop taking pictures all together, but I have stopped taking my camera with me everywhere. Sometimes, I don’t even bring it with me on vacation. (Yes, you heard me right!) Now I sit down and enjoy the party or just watch my kids do whatever they are doing. I still sometimes jump up to get my camera and capture something that interests me but then I put it away and get back to whatever it was that I was doing.
I haven’t stopped taking pictures professionally either, but I have stopped taking every single job that comes my way, and started taking only the ones that really fit with the kind of photos I like to take.
I like it better this way. Now, I’m not trying to take a great picture of everything going on in my life. I only get my camera out to capture something that has moved me to do so.
I’m enjoying life, and photography, a lot more now.