I recently lost a few thousand photos. My camera was stolen along with all of my memory cards… Precious moments from my adventures hunting wildflowers in the California desert and of my recent chautauqua in Mexico I mean, this trip was especially meaningful to me. The photos that were lost had captured a visible evolution in my personal and professional journey. To me these weren’t just photographs, these were unforgettable milestone, priceless moments frozen in time. Imagine a piece of your portfolio omitted into the void. In my grief for their loss I began process why photos are so meaningful to me, why I take photographs.
My earliest memories of my grandfather are of him always with his DSLR camera, ever since I was little girl I remember there being a pet Nikon that was never far from his hands. He loved taking photos and he had tens of thousands of them from his frequent trips across the United State and around the world. He also always had his camera for all the little moments too, day-to-day, our pictures were taken through his eyes. We take pictures of the things that are important to us. His were mostly of his travels, of his family, and of his friends whom were a part of his family as well. His photos were such a gift to me, they provide invaluable retrospective of myself my family and all of these moments otherwise forgotten in time.
My grandfather was also the one to put the camera in my hand and encouraged me to use it; he never once questioned my pictures neither did he give me advice on how to take a picture he just taught me how to use it and let me enjoy the experience of taking photos. I remember taking pictures alongside him on adventures we shared as well as taking many photos on my own time just being a kid at and after school. I remember the joy it brought me taking my own photos, the freedom of capturing moments of my life from my perspective, and catalyst that gave to me in developing a personal expression.
I remember taking photos as early as age six. Mostly of nature; birds, trees, and flowers. I remember trying to catch life in motion, it’s possible that those experiences taught me more about life than it did about photography. I remember my excitement and anticipation of picking up each newly developed role, never knowing which shots had worked. Anytime we had an aquatic adventure; snorkeling or infamously paddling out to some island that looked close enough.. my grandfather would always put an underwater disposable camera in my little hands and those are some of my favorite photos to look back on.
The art of Photography is woven into my soul and when life feels really complicated, picking up the camera, going slow but still moving well keeping my eye open to the beauty of life, that’s my Zen. Photography has shaped my life by inspiring me to take the extra time, to make the effort, and to have some great adventures. Photography then even more so than now, for me, it highlights how fleeting the beauty of life can be. I love the exhilaration of getting of capturing those fleeting moments. I am very much an in the moment photographer.
There are a few photos that have weathered the years that photos that I took when I was a little girl that are still so exhilarating for me to look at, moments in my mind reinforced by the photograph in my hands. Photographs can provide us with valuable historical perspective, they are important to families and societies alike. For better or worse they can show us our own reflections, capturing our culture and mood. Photography is an art, and art is a pillar of our collective legacy. I believe that collective legacy is a fractal expression of our individual legacy.
The art that we create with our lives is multifaceted, and whatever our individual expressions we influence our impact on our communities. Our interests determine how we live, how we make others feel; and ultimately, how we inspire others in leading their own creative expression, that is our personal legacy. I take photographs because it gives me great joy to capture life’s meaningful moments and to share the world as I see it with others. It brings me great joy to be a part of the moment, to see the world in frames.
We take pictures of the things that are important to us, as a photographer I have learned to connect with things that are important to other people as well and it stokes me to be able to connect with people through my photography. Every day I’m inspired to capture life, to be able to share those moments that I have been fortunate enough to be a part of. I am inspired by the power of a photograph that lifts our spirits and opens our minds. I take photographs because it inspires me to feel more connected to the present moment, to open my mind like an aperture, to receive more of what’s going on in the world around me.
To the human who stole my pet camera and is probably not reading this, maybe it makes sense now how the memory card can be worth more than the camera itself.
Published January 2018