One of my sons-in-law is a photographer and a good one at that. Learning the art of photography has been on my to-do list for ages. I’ve always loved looking at his beautiful photographs, all the while wondering how he did it. Finally, determined to learn, I began buying books on photography, followed by numerous cameras, lens and other equipment. (I have to admit that I am more than a bit obsessive. When I become interested in something, I go all out buying every book that I can find on the subject, and in this case, more cameras and equipment than I needed.)
Anyway, I began taking photographs and at first, I was gung-ho about it. I love flowers and they displayed prominently in the photographs that I took. I quickly learned that taking a good (I am not even talking about “great.”) photograph was easier said than done. All of the bells and whistles on the cameras confounded me and I couldn’t remember the difference between “ISO” and “F-stop” to save my life. What began as a potential learning experience and perhaps, hobby, became an exercise in frustration.
Unfortunately, I fell back on what has been a major stumbling block for me in the past–comparing my photographs to that of others. I wanted to use some of my photographs on my blog. I inevitably read blogs with stunning photographs, which was to be expected since many of the bloggers were photographers or had a passion for it. In comparison, my photographs were less than mediocre, at best. I began taking fewer and fewer photographs until my cameras sat collecting dust. With the exception of my iPhone, I simply lost interest in learning the craft.
At heart, I know that it was illogical to compare my photographs to those of others, especially professionals, but my pesky ego fed my feelings of inferiority. My ego peppered me with questions like, who are you to think that you can take good photographs or you don’t have what it takes to learn this, it’s too complicated. Little by little, I believed those negative thoughts to be true and they served to confirm my belief that, for me, photography was a lost cause.
As some of you may know, “courage” is my word for 2014. (If you are so inclined, here is the post in which I chose “courage” as my word for the year, and my reasons for doing so.) At its’ basic level, I committed to embrace the courage to be vulnerable in every area of my life. As I wrote then, “[b]eing vulnerable meant admitting that I wasn’t perfect,” and more importantly, having “the courage to be vulnerable.” With that in mind, I am renewing my efforts to learn about photography. I am not talking about the lofty goal of being a photographer. No, I simply want to learn to take a photograph that I can be proud of, without comparing it to the work of others. I am not listening to that now faint voice of the ego, that still tries to torpedo my efforts. Instead, I am following my heart as it supports and applauds my choices, and routinely, reminds me that “I am enough.”
So, the photographs that I’ve added below are about me being vulnerable and accepting the outcome, whatever it may be. They are about me choosing to allow “courage” to be a guiding force in my life, and giving fear a swift kick in the butt.