When I was first starting out as a photographer it used to be common place on trips abroad, or even on days and nights out, for my partner to point out that I should put the camera down and enjoy living in moments that I’m trying to capture.
Admittedly, as I’m sure many photographers do, I often got carried away especially when the subject is something visually exciting. As I became more immersed in visual imagery and this argument continued to pop up it got me asking: what am I trying to capture here?
For many photographers the process of image making is not simply a way to make a living and you can’t simply draw a line between time spent working and time off as might be the case in other professions. For many of us it can be a process of developing as a person. Indeed many projects seem to fall into the category of “voyage of self discovery”.
For me I think I take pictures of my life because I’m still trying to understand myself and my style. It’s similar to when you write things down and they become clearer. Although, at the same time perhaps, there is an element of trying to hold on to my youth: to capture moments in order to hold on to them.
But on recent trips I began to see my partners point: there can be a point that your enjoyment of life can be affected by constant image making and as I have grown as a person and a photographer my ability to discern when a moment is worth capturing has also grown. Most importantly, when an image is worth taking, it’s about learning to strike a balance between looking through a lens and experiencing life. It’s about letting go and living in that moment and connecting with what’s happening in front of you.