Looking through the lens


I love photography. Taking pictures is another way of expressing myself, but also a way of getting and being conscious of who I am.

There are a few quotes who express quite well how I feel and think about photography:

“Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.” Marc Riboud

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” Ansel Adams

“A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.” Ansel Adams

“Sometimes I arrive just when God’s ready to have someone click the shutter.” Ansel Adams

When you take a picture, you make a conscious choice of what to take a picture of; you look at the light, the shadows, the framing, the foreground, the background, the exposition…. Sometimes you take a picture spontaneously, without taking so much care – and those can be just as awesome.

One thing is common to both types of pictures: unless your picture is what I call a composition or an arrangement, you have to be lucky and just be at the right moment at the right spot, and especially for animal photography, have a great deal of patience.

There, it parallels life: there are parameters we can take care of, some that we should take care of for maximum success, and other parameters that are less important depending on what our goal is. But much depends on being patient, “lucky”, and being at the place at the right time.

As such, photography is one of the things that teach me patience and that being stressed and frustrated leads to nothing, and to rather see something that didn’t turn out as expected (even if after a moment of disappointment) as an occasion of further practice.

One thing I especially like is macrophotography. I am fascinated by small things and structures. We are surrounded by ordinary things. Nothing special. But only at the first glance. If we look closer, if we learn to really look, we start to see that in fact, we are surrounded by small miracles – everywhere and every day. When truly paying attention, we can see all the gifts that we’ve been given to enjoy. I can inhale and exhale with gratitude, even on a day when I’m riddled with pain.

For me, this ties in with what one of the greatest theologian of all times, Abraham Joshua Heschel, said: “Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement. ….get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.”

Amazed, I can be every day. Filled with gratitude towards my God and maker – despite my illness and hardships. On difficult days (but not only of course) I look through the seeker of my camera and it changes my whole perspective. Actually, it changed my perspective even as I look at things without a lens between them and me.

 

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