Monday, July 21, 2008


I had a conversation with my daughter last night when I picked her up at the ferry, not long before midnight, after she'd spent a week couch-surfing with friends in Portland. We were discussing her sister (my other daughter), who was in a relationship last year that seems to have pulled her away from herself.

What emerged from this conversation was a reminder that a good relationship -- like a good religion, or a good meditation practice -- allows you to reveal and accept more and more parts of yourself, to become more centered, more in tune with and accepting of who you are.

And I realized that if I took that thought and applied it as a lens through which to watch my reactions to the new camera I picked up this week, and to the conversation I had about it, cameras, and photography last night, that I have (once again) been getting caught up in "shoulds": I SHOULD sell my work, I SHOULD use a sophisticated camera, I SHOULD be in complete control of every aspect of the images I collect.

But the fact is that what I love is the act of seeing, and being able to share what I see. I don't love cameras, fiddling with lenses and dials and buttons and Photoshop; I just want to get the picture that I saw. AND THAT'S OKAY! There are plenty of cameras out there -- really nice point and shoot cameras -- that will give me the convenience and practicality I need AND the images I want; I don't need to get all caught up in the technical details. And there is no shame in that.

So I offer this image, taken on my birthday with the little point and shoot I like to keep around for fun. I love it, it was easy to shoot, I didn't have to Photoshop it, and it says all it needs to say. No, this camera is not a professional model. But maybe I never needed it to be one.

And if God can speak as clearly through a child, or a tax collector, as God speaks through a priest, then maybe God's images can be seen through the lens of a point and shoot as readily as through a $5000 full-frame SLR with an expensive lens and the latest photo software.

No, I didn't spend that kind of money on my new Costco SLR. But I'm still going to take it back. It just isn't me.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I recently found your blog and love it! This post is so right on...I read a similar view oint recently by the photographer DeWitt Jones, who spoke about 'why not point and shoot'? We need to make photographs, whether they be via an oatmeal box pinhole or a fancy Nikon. I look forward to seeing more of your work.