“To Sum it Up in One Shot…”
In all honesty, this wasn’t the only picture that reminded me of my experiences in MMS173. There were a couple more that showed how I was doing, however I found this the most powerful. I felt that fear and excitement I got when I was starting MMS173, and that vertigo you feel when looking down from a banister.
Climbing levels of winding stairs is no doubt an arduous task. If you have a weak physique like I do, you’ll have to pause to catch a breath and maybe look around you to see how everyone else are doing. You get mixed feelings while watching. You’ll feel awed and amazed by how well others are doing, or perhaps feel discouraged at how fast one fellow is advancing to the top while leaving great contributions to each wall. At one point, you’ll be surprised to find comrades also catching their breath with you, but will not give up. Meeting people who can sympathize with you is not that rare. In fact, it happens surprisingly often. Everyone will need to pause to catch their breath from overcoming a set of challenge. Some need a short moment, while others, need a complete stop before moving onward. How was I, I wonder? What kind of break did I need when I paused from my journey?
I remember feeling inspired by what I see around me, and then discouraged and depressed by knowing I couldn’t do what others can do yet. I trudge through and take a couple of steps leading to the next floor, but I get sidetracked by something interesting that caught my eye. There are many people waiting in the next floor to welcome the newcomers and invite them to climb up the next flight of stairs together, but the sea inside me is still uneasy and nervous that I could not give back their smiles and shake their hands properly. They give their opinions and views on the different arts showcased on the walls, but there are too many opinions. Too many people with critical eyes that it’s hard to tell them what you also think, in fear your words are superficial and unnecessary, revealing how much you lack in skills.
As insecurities pile up, you choose to trail behind them. You’re climbing the stairs to the top with the others, but at the same time, you’re still alone. I was a coward in the beginning, so I don’t blame these flights of stairs that are challenging me. They helped me become braver actually, slowly but surely. I slowly realized the weaknesses in me and it made me take the initiative to make me better. Reach out, say hello with a smile, and many will grab your hand to pull you along with them to the top. As you travel together with others, a competitive spirit will ignite inside and you’ll feel like you want to do better. Become their equal. Everyone has their own disadvantages, but letting these discourage you will not make anything that’s productive. Play with advantages. Improve them, upgrade them. If you want to be an equal to the group of fellows you want to befriend, then level up yourself. They won’t lower their abilities for you. Besides, improving as you go to the top is invigorating, fun, exciting, thrilling, and many more synonyms.
I lean over to a side of a banister, and the sensation of falling comes back. You can almost see and feel yourself falling off the side as the pressure around you push you out of balance. However, there’s someone who’ll call out to you now. Yell out to tell you it’s dangerous and pull you away from the banister, keep you from looking down and hallucinate you’re falling.
In the beginning, taking photographs was something that I find troubling, or bothersome. I always thought that when you take photographs, they have to be perfect all the time. Mistakes are useless — photos with these are garbage. The pressure of being good and up to par to high standards made me negative more than ever. I took a breather when I felt like I was crashing to oblivion. I just took pictures of what I want and kept them to myself. Taking shots made me focus on the composition and be a bit more bold in my own definition. The desire to improve became a healthier thing for me as I search for good resources that gives out tips on photography while inspiring readers to take shots around you.
Danielle Hark, founder of a supportive community Broken Light was interviewed for an ebook called “The Daily Post: Photography 101” published by the editors from a WordPress community. She was asked questions which led to her philosophy on photography and visual storytelling. There was one question that asked her what was the role that photography played in her life.
“[…] I’ve found that it’s the taking of the photos, not the quality of the camera, that’s most important. In recent years, photography has become both a creative and emotional outlet for me — a way to express what’s going on inside at a conscious and subconscious level.
“I take photos to stay present in certain situations, or as an escape. I am not good at traditional meditation, but I can view photos of nature and be transported to a more relaxed place.”
Another question was how does photography promote mindfulness, and how can we approach “our craft in this way”.
“Photography can be a tool for mindfulness. When you look through a lens you must be present to take in the sight, and orchestrate your shot. By focusing on what you see (the composition, the lighting, etc.) you are mindful, whether you realize it or not. You are focused (literally) on the present moment and not worrying about things that have happened in the past or might happen in the future. You are in the now, at least for that moment. And sometimes one moment is all it takes to bring you back from a negative place.”
I found Danielle Hark’s words the most beautiful and most true. As a student, I think it’s natural for everyone, especially those who are studying, to feel competitive and spirited, but sometimes, there is a need to find an escape from everything. While music makes me feel alive and alleviates my mood, my swirling and chaotic emotions can only feel most at peace when I am holding my camera and taking photographs of what I see. That vertigo I feel while on the stairs becomes something I don’t fear of when holding a camera.
“To Sum it Up in One Shot…” is not easy to do.
Link to the downloadable ebook: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/postaday/ebook-photography-101/ (available in three formats: PDF, Kindle and iBooks (.epub))
- The Daily Post Editors (n.d.). 1Philosophy of Photography. The Daily Post: Photography 101. (pp. 6–9). Retrieved from https://dailypost.wordpress.com/postaday/ebook-photography-101/