The Humanity of a Moment

When I was in high school, I found photography interesting. I would take photos with an old polaroid camera my father had and then take the same photo, with a wider shot with a Nikon to play with layering them and making it seem as if the polaroid image was a zoomed in portion of the overall photo. I loved taking my camera with me when I would walk the family dog and I found it fun to try to capture people candidly. I would print the image and then write a journal entry from the perspective of the individual in the photo. I think it was my way of getting out of my own teenage drama filled brain for a moment.

In my twenties I bought a nicer Nikon camera, but unfortunately, it found a place in my parent’s home waiting for me to return from deployments. In between deployments I would use it seldomly since I found it hard to motivate myself to be creative at that time.

Recently, in my thirties, I’ve found myself thinking of using it more often. Especially with a toddler at home and a distant friend who’s constantly motivating me to “print your photos” because digital just isn’t the same.  I don’t even take many pictures with my cell phone. My gallery is littered with pictures of things to remember and images of my daughter doing something silly. I feel like I stopped taking as many pictures when my dog passed away last summer, leaving me with no one to walk outside with and little motivation to go out on my own.

I think that the person behind the camera lens, the photographer, hold a great deal of power in not only what they capture within an image, but in how they frame that image to the public. An image can create a narrative and/or tell a story, but the important aspect is that the story isn’t fully told by the image, but instead by the bias and perception of the viewer inspecting the image. While the photographer may have intended to portray one emotion, the viewer can observe and experience an entirely different narrative or story.

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