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May 05, 2021
Misty City Morning
Photography is such an interesting profession and hobby.
Why do most people take photos?
I’d say the vast majority of people are taking photos to capture a moment in time. It’s a moment you want to remember, immortalize. The birth of a baby, graduation, a wedding.
We capture small moments in time for lasting memories.
I bought my first camera at the age of nine, and I took photos mostly of still-life subjects. Those are moments too but different than occasions we want to remember always.
Photos took on a different meaning for me after my brother died. I was 15 then - almost 16.
Expounding a little further on one of my Facebook posts from this week. I talked about the brother-sized hole I have in my heart and always will.
Of course, I had taken photos of my brother.
I wished then and still wish that I’d taken so many more.
Plus - there’s this weird thing. None of the photos we had of my brother looked right. Few of them really look like him the way I remembered him.
If you’ve ever lost a loved one, I highly recommend the book “A Grief Observed,” by C.S. Lewis. He put beautiful words to the phenomenon I felt - this feeling that I didn’t have the right photo or the exact recall of a perfect moment or memory.
Nothing is ever quite the same.
A friend of mine and I were discussing this last week because she lost her beloved canine companion that she’d had for years.
She loved that dog dearly.
More importantly, her precious dog had been there with her through the loss of her marriage, the loss of two cherished, long-time friends from cancer, and the loss of her mother.
Now the beloved dog is gone too.
I want to remember everything, but as the days go by, the faces of lost loved ones fade and become soft around the edges.
It's a blessing and a curse.
It makes it easier to cope with day-to-day life but sometimes it causes more grief knowing that I’m slowly forgetting precious details, moments, and memories.
As a kid, I didn’t take a lot of portraits of people or even a lot of photos of people at all. My mom used to chide me for it.
“Where are all the people?” She’d ask.
I’ve always loved architecture, landscapes, and even abstract subjects.
As I’ve gotten older, I’m more interested in portraits, especially of the people I know and love. I can take a thousand photos of someone I love, and I know that if that person dies before me, I’ll feel like it wasn't enough.
A friend’s son died at 13 days old. My daughter and I took a couple of hundred photos of him when he was in the hospital.
My dear friend said later, her heart breaking, “We didn’t take enough.”
In my blog, I don't usually write about the vulnerable parts of myself, but I heard one of the most inspirational talks I’ve ever heard yesterday at a writer’s Zoom conference and it put me in an introspective mood.
Or maybe it’s that my birthday is coming up later this month. I’ll be 57.
Unedited iPhone selfie from late April - more than half a life!
I was reflecting on the fact that I’ve now lived more of my life than the time I have left. I mean, seriously, I doubt I’ll make it to 114, though 100 isn't out of the question in my family.
I almost never think of my age except for the fact that I’m aware of time passing and I’m very aware that I want to live until I die.
And, of course, there's an insane amount of pressure on us, especially women, not to look old.
More importantly, I don’t want to spend years dying more than I'm living because I’ve failed to take care of myself. That's what I mean when I say I want to live until I die.
It’s why I work so hard every day exercising, eating right, and taking some prayer and meditation time. It's hard to do right by your body but I think it's become harder because we're shown images of people who aren't real.
I'm a photographer.
I know this.
Models starve themselves while telling the rest of us they eat whatever they want. Then their photos are Photoshopped beyond recognition.
Where did this strange aesthetic even come from?
I think it's made a lot of people, both men and women, give up altogether.
I had a 70-something neighbor once when I lived in a condo in California. She sat in a chair by her front window reading all day and did little else.
I used to coax her out to walk to the mailbox with me. She had a stroke and ended up in assisted living and died soon after.
The woman who moved in next was in her late 70s. She drove a classic Mustang, still went to work every day, exercised most days, and had lots of friends, and social engagements.
She rocked life.
I’m not obsessed with staying young but I am at least a little obsessed with staying healthy and getting the most out of life.
I got up this morning to go out early and shoot the sunrise, but there wasn’t much of a sunrise. After shooting only a few photos (including the one for the blog post) I was pulled back to my computer with all these thoughts and words in my head so I wrote them.
The speaker at the Zoom conference yesterday was fantastic. She talked about knowing your values and speaking your truth.
As an artist, I struggle with speaking my truth through my photographs. It’s not always easy, and I don't always know what I want to say.
I've definitely struggled with vulnerability because I've dealt with some serious betrayals, not the least of which came from my ex-husband - the person who vowed to love me the most.
Mainly, I want to bring beauty, joy, and peace to the world.
It's definitely all a journey.
And sharing your heart with others is costly. You never know how people will respond.
So far, I've been lucky. I get the kindest emails from people. I appreciate how much they share of themselves, even when it's hard and I'm not sure how to respond. I just do my best and speak from the heart.
If you've read this far, thanks for sticking with me!
And...see you between the raindrops, of which we've had a ton the past couple of days in Atlanta!
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