When I was 16 and taking driver’s education classes at my high school, I remember the instructor telling us to “see the big picture” while we were driving – to keep our eyes on the lookout at all times. It’s something that has obviously stuck with me (over 30 years later) and which sometimes comes to mind when my camera is in hand. It is a reminder to stay aware and mindful of the world around me – one never knows when that decisive moment may occur.
But the world can be busy and chaotic. If I kept my eyes and my mind open constantly, I would feel overwhelmed and eventually burn out.
I was reminded of this when I shot an event recently – a one night pop-up restaurant in San Francisco. Because I am often reserved, I enjoy shooting events where I can be somewhat anonymous. Engage where I need to engage, escape to a quiet corner when I need a breather. I have huge admiration for anyone who shoots large events like weddings – you have to be ON the entire time – you don’t want to miss the kiss, or the cutting of the cake, or those perfect moments that make a wedding day special. I find it alternatively exhilarating and exhausting.
And so at the pop-up restaurant, I found myself not only taking breathers, but capturing images in those quiet moments that represented … a pause. Where I looked for and found light, and a small point on which to focus.
When I was done for the night, the chef presented me with a bowl of his freshly made pasta, the restaurant owner poured me a glass of wine, and I felt the satisfaction of completing a task with the bonus of having taken moments for myself that gave the evening a slower, calmer speed at which to take in the “big picture”.
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Viewfinders Manifesto #6
We believe in the transcendent power of really good light.