Photography is more.
It is more than the camera. More than the lens used.
There are worlds within worlds right in front of us, but we have to do more than simply look. We must be mindfully present and aware and anticipating. For me photography is about visualization. It is about seeing your end product before you even raise your camera or press the shutter button. I do not pre-plan many of my shots, especially when I am documenting my children. However while I am watching moments unfold in front of me I am all there. I am seeing life in frames. I am watching the light, the connections, the body language, all of it.
This particular day we had taken a trip to the Children's Museum. The kids were wild with excitement at the whole floor of real life play areas open to them. They bounced from one activity to the next so quickly I barely had time to change settings or compose a shot before they were off to something new that caught their eye.
My middle son started playing with the puppets, I immediately saw the light hitting his cheek and illuminating his profile and they way he was connecting with his new friend so perfectly. I only had a second to grab the shot and I knew my settings would be off now that we were closer to the windows after having come from the back of the floor. But I also knew the core of what I wanted was right there in front of me: the moment, the light, and the connection. So I snapped because I knew he would be off and running soon. And he was, no sooner had my shutter clicked and he was off to the rock climbing wall that had caught his eye.
I'm not going to lie, I cringed a little when I saw the shot I had snapped. But when I uploaded my photos from the day instead of by-passing it I remembered there was a reason I had raised my camera and I looked again. I remembered that when I had snapped this I did not want a documentary shot that told the full story of what we did that day. I wanted this moment; the light and connection. I visualized everything else away except for those three things just like I had seen it initially.
But this is not about flying by the seat of your pants and hoping to fix it later (although when you are simply documenting your family and your memories I will always say 'just take the shot') This is about being ready, visualizing, and following through. This is about being present and mindful while shooting so you can see what is there if you pull back a layer or two.
Find the light, find the moment, find the connection. Find the irony, the love, the joy. Find the frames, the interesting patterns, and reflections. Worlds within worlds. Look deeper. Look longer. You don't need an amazing studio or a field of flowers at sunset to find beauty. It is all around us every day at every moment.