Have you looked around at the great work of photographers online? It's out there and it's ubiquitous and beautiful and bad and everything in between. It's inspiring and awful, and dull and exciting, pap and esthetically sublime. For me, the great work is inspiring and also intimidating. How can I ever be any good with so much good stuff out there?
Of course, I don't truly consider myself a photographer in the true sense of the word:
I don't have a "job" anymore per se. I call myself a picture taker but "shutter bug" is probably apt:
There is no doubt I'm enthusiastic. I often wonder what motivates photographers and, I suppose, it's different for every person who uses a camera. My motivation is simple. I simply want to share the places I've been with YOU.
Unlike a lot of folks who retire I don't miss my "career" and the ego crap and politics associated with it. What I do miss about my work is connecting with others. I had a general hubbub in my life for 40 years and it's not easy just to turn that off- even if 90% of the hubbub was meaningless bullshit. My best years in my career were when I was a High School teacher - just hanging out with my students and sharing was deeply satisfying to me. Sharing is the key word- to me teaching is all about learning and learning isn't filling empty brains with your brilliance- it's sharing and experiencing and learning together. That's when kids get fired up about learning - when they see how fun and meaningful it is by a teacher who learns with them . Unfortunately too much teaching, alternatively, is done to to them which is the primary reason schools fail our kids.
Enough about education- I could go on for days...believe me.
So, even though I'm older, I still have the itch to share. I suppose that's one reason that, occasionally, the internet provides a healthy outlet for me. It is of course true that I'd like my photographs to bowl you over with their magnificence but I ain't no Ansel Adams or Dorothea Lange. I know, taking up photography as a passion nearing 60 years of age I'm not going to have decades to learn and hone my craft. That's OK though. Fortunately, photography is art and I can use my heart to take pictures and learn along the way.
I thought about going back to the university and getting a degree in photography since I've always been so academically oriented. But, nah, I've done enough of that! Instead I'm going to UYT (University of YouTube) and I've been blessed by having a few friends that have helped me along the way. I'm enjoying that part of the journey. It challenges my old and slow mind a bit which gets keeps the dread away if nothing else and I've always had a romance with learning. I do think these lessons are improving some technical aspects of my photos...
I am offering a few of my photos for sale but I'm realistic about that and it's hardly the reason I'm driven to snap off hundreds of images on every outdoor trip I go on. In a perfect world I'd like you to feel what I felt when I was there and taking that photo in my Trip Review. I'd like you to appreciate the wonder of the world as I seek to do daily. I'd like you to think about our connection to nature and how important it is that we work diligently to preserve it. Mostly though, in your own private way, I'd just like you to get the feeling of peace and calm and presence that I get when I'm "out there".
Let's talk about feelings and presence for a moment. Friends and family occasionally ask me how I handle setbacks and the answer, as with everything in life, is by staying present. I cannot change the past injustices and losses no matter how much I think about them...I certainly cannot control the future. All I have is this moment (that's actually all any of us ever have). The best way I've found to stay connected to this moment is by using sensory perception and/or through meditation and the practice of mindfulness. As Eckhart Tolle says when you're smelling the morning air you aren't thinking...at all...you're truly present. It's after we smell the morning air that we begin to evaluate it and the mental craziness ensues.
Yes, but what about the technical aspects of photography? Composition? Golden ratio? Rule of thirds? Symmetry? Bokeh? Depth of field? Filling the frame? What about the rules? Rules are fine and important and I use them from time to time and I'm enjoying learning more all the time- but rules are hardly the reason I dig photography.
A good photograph can transcend thought like the morning breeze that you inhale without thinking attached. Thank you to those photographers whose photographs do that for me and may I be fortunate enough to have one or two do that for you my friends.
Come on then...let's go look at some pictures...
This will mostly be a journal of my travels. I may include other items that interest me. Feel free to join in.
All content (C) Jeff Hubbard. No re-use without express written permission