I started thinking about writing this post last week, after going through Sara Melotti’s blog (definitely check her out!) and finding a post on whether photography is preventing us from enjoying the moment. It was not the first time I came across this kind of thought: I’ve heard many people before saying stuff like “stop instagramming and start living”. The idea behind this is that sometimes, as photographers/instagrammers, we are so focused on taking the right shot that we forget to look around and actually appreciate what we are living at that exact moment.
Don’t get me wrong, I do think that there is some truth behind this. Indeed, I’m the first one who sometimes is so focused on taking pictures that forgets to enjoy a little more whatever is happening around me. However, this is not usually the case, and I would say that for me, photography is most of the times a way of finding a deeper connection with moments and places.
Let me try to explain this. For me, taking a picture is a process that involves several stages. First, I need to look around and see what is surrounding me. Find beauty. Secondly, I need to process everything that I’m seeing and think about a way of channeling it into a picture. Third, I usually spend quite some time framing, getting my settings right, making sure that what I’m seeing is going to be translated into the final output. Throughout this process, I like to think that I’m able to bring together whatever is surrounding me with what I see of special in it. And even more, I like my photography to channel what I’m feeling at the moment: my emotions, the music I’m listening to, whether I’m alone or with someone. Whether I’m crying or laughing.
I doing all of that, I usually think about photography, more than anything, as a tool for bringing together a certain moment with my emotions, and combining them into a picture. What’s the relationship between this and living the moment? Well, everything, of course. I have the impression that photography makes me open my eyes more than anything else. It makes me activate all my senses, look for the details, make an extra effort to find that something that makes a certain place so special. In a nutshell, photography helps me have a deeper connection with my environment than anything else.
I’m usually able to tell a lot from my past pictures based on details such as exposure, warmth, saturation, perspective. I tend to take warm pictures when I’m happy, black & white when I’m kind of moody. There are some pictures when I can clearly see that I was alone and quiet, others where I can perceive a Taylor Swift song playing on my earphones. Soft pictures usually bring me memories of dreamy days, high saturation is likely to have come together with loud music and determination.
Look at this picture, for instance. I was in Paris walking around, and I was going through a difficult moment. For me that’s pretty obvious given the composition, that highlights the loneliness of the sculpture, the over exposure, the black and white vibes. This is a clear example of a very personal moment channeled through a picture.
Now look at this. Can you see how quiet it feels? It was December, around 7 AM and it was sooo freezing (-4º or something like that). I was shivering, of course. If it weren’t for the fact that I was very motivated about taking pictures, I would have never stopped there and admired the beauty of the moment. Also, warm picture. I was probably feeling happy in spite of the cold.
Loads of blue, bright colors and high saturation here. This picture clearly reflects my mood of the day, colourful and euphoric. Somehow, the way it’s taken makes it so easy for me to remember the emotions I was feeling at the time: feeling everything was sso pretty I needed to take it home with myself. And so I did.
One last picture. I love taking pictures of candles. This is blurry, warm, soft, quiet. I can amost see myself in the church where it was taken feeling so much peace inside, channeling the beauty and shaping it into this picture. Looking at it, I have the impression that I coud touch the emotions I felt at the time.
Photography makes me see. Feel. Channel emotions. Find beauty. Be creative. Capture memories. Open my eyes. Love the world. Live the moment, in the most special way I’ve ever known.