There are days when I can’t seem to do any one thing right. And on such days, when I’m done tending to others, I often shut out the world and dive deep into my photos. When I come across a good one, one that I couldn’t have made even a few years ago, but that now I can, it provides tangible proof that I am not utterly bereft of competence in all things.
Adulthood, and parenthood, these are not sprints, they are ultra marathons. I suspect we all must have days when we feel we’re moving backwards, or, at best, trapped in the quick-sand of our swirling responsibilities. Through photography, at least, I can push myself to learn and grow, and I can see my progress – my forward movement – year by year. As someone who has always loved process as much, ok, if I’m completely honest, maybe even a bit more, than product, this ability photography offers to continue growing, learning, and charting my personal progress is a huge part of why it has such a hold on me.
This photo, a peek into a Venetian metal workers shop, was taken almost at walking speed. My husband was up ahead as our group worked our way through the narrow alley and he started wildly gesticulating in the direction of this open door. I peeked into the darkness, cursed myself for just having loaded slide film into the camera but had to chance it, so I took my shutter speed as low as I felt I safely could, quickly composed and finished my stride. I didn’t hold a lot of hope out for this frame, so the clarity of the image and the history I see in the end result really please me. There is no way I could have made this photo a few years back.
And at the complete opposite end of the spectrum, in the photo below, I saw the picture in picture aspect of this window, and had the time to wait patiently for the in-screen frame I wanted to unfold. The end result is the image I composed and planned, and managing the exposure for these very different fields within the frame – the store behind the glass, the window frame and reflection at high noon would have strained my abilities even a year ago.
I think many of us tend to focus on the aspects of photography that are our weak spots, but looking back at what you’ve accomplished is a healthy exercise too. It gives me confidence that I’ve got what it takes to tackle my next challenge. Flash photography, I’m looking at you!
Since we’re closing in on the end of the year, now is an apt time to look back through your own archive. Show us a photo, with a link here in the comments or by tagging it #Viewfindersio on IG that demonstrates your personal progress in the past year. We would love to see the work that makes you proud of your progress.
Keep your eyes wide open,