Viewfinders Manifesto #5
We believe that photography is a solo pursuit made much more enjoyable
when practiced with the support of a community.
. . . . . . . . . .
I don’t do parades or anything involving crowds if I can help it. (Except for Disneyland. I will always brave masses of people when it comes to Disneyland.) My husband and I, when we became the parents of a social butterfly who never met a party she didn’t like, gamely took her to Halloween parades and Easter egg hunts when she was small, and were grateful when she outgrew that kind of fun.
If events do come around (like, say, Memorial Day carnivals), we will go only if absolutely necessary or if we’re in the mood for people-watching or photography. Or if we’re shamed into it when asked to go with friends who are more fun than we are.
I had grand notions of documenting the garish lights and slightly seedy feel of our tiny, local carnival this weekend. Go at dusk, get in, get out. My daughter isn’t big on carnivals either but didn’t want to miss out the parts she does like (funnel cake), so she borrowed my second camera and came along.
For most of the evening, rather than pointing my camera at the kids trying to win stuffed unicorns at the ring toss booth or lining up for stomach-turning rides, I captured my daughter framing her shots. We took our time and didn’t rush (as I would have if I was alone), and at the end of the evening she told me it was one of her favorite carnival experiences.
And it struck me, as it has in the past, that feeling a sense of belonging has always been key to my own happiness. That the work or the art or the activity is important in itself, but the doing of it in a community of like-minded people is just as essential.
I’m an introvert who needs people. And my daughter is learning the lesson that I have learned over and over again – that putting yourself out there even when it’s uncomfortable, and doing it with those who share your interests or even better, love you dearly, is what life’s all about.