Dichotomy of Photography

Other than on my iPhone, I don’t believe I have taken one photo in August.

A gasp of disbelief and sigh of relief simultaneously occurs.

After my wildflower photo extravaganza, my photographer’s soul was filled and without consciously doing so, my camera got put to the side.

So I could run around unencumbered at the PNE. Walk lightly around the zoo. Jump into the lake. Build sandcastles with the girls. Splatter paint without fear of consequences.

I have felt free.

Other times, of course, I have felt most free with my camera in hand. Capturing smiles and flowers and twirls in magic light.

Stepping away from my camera has given me time to reflect on it, and what I have realized is this:

Like most things in life, there is a dichotomy at play that requires some shifting, juggling, compromising to get it right. To feel the flow.

Those flowy moments, oh how amazing they are, where it’s not so much about lighting and smiles but about authenticity and presence. The girls feel it. I feel it. My camera, my tool in capturing it.

At other times, the picture showcases the ebb over any flow. The forced grin or set-up background. Maybe it’s the point-and-shoot composition or dull frame.

Sometimes my camera draws me into the moment, allowing me eyes to see deeper into that place I might otherwise have missed. A comforting holding of hands or glimmer of mischievous glee. The sun peeking through the trees or a sparkling reflection of mud.

Other times it actually acts as a barrier to immersing myself into the moment. Taking a shot of my dancing girls when all they really want is mommy being one of the dancing girls (and not just pretend dancing while I aim for a better shot, but the full real-deal head banging, twirling, dipping mamma!)

Sometimes when I am feeling the flow completely,

my girls are not.

If I am mindful of their feelings, I continue shooting, just at a different muse.

What I have learned in this three-week hiatus, is that sometimes I am guilty of snapping photos only out of a sense of duty, or worse, habit. If I am not feeling energized, brightened, giddy by the prospect of taking photos one day, then I need to listen to that. If I am feeling burdened by the prospect of bringing it out, it’s probably because it is a burden. Because I can tell you, a full day at the PNE or Zoo without that extra weight and worry, is downright joyful. Not bringing it to the lake lets me be free to kick up the sand and jump in the lake.

A burden today, a creative spark tomorrow. Ebbs and flows.

Having awareness, being mindful of what that feels today, that is living authentically.

Sometimes with my camera.

Sometimes without.


3 thoughts on “Dichotomy of Photography

  1. love this post kari. so much in it that resonates with how i feel sometimes. opting to be the photographer sometimes does feel like I am really not INvolved in the dance, but rather just the observer, but sometimes I really do take joy in really capturing their dance, their flow, and who am I to jump in? i find that more often, i do question if picking up my camera is habit or if its creative flow. i find that listening to that inner response can be very freeing in each way. ; )

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