Friday, June 15, 2012

Photography for the sleep deprived

On the 21 June, I'm teaching a photography class at a breast feeding support group at Falmouth Hospital (a wonderful group by the way: it meets on Thursday mornings).  It will be a short and simple class on how to take cute photos of your baby.  While not everyone can take great photos, I think everyone can take good photos with a few simple techniques.

I thought I would write this entry as a way of getting organized but instead decided to write about what photography means in my life. (I'll write the easy photo tips for new moms on another day.)

I started taking photos in 2007, while in my former incarnation as Senior VP of Global Robber Baron, Inc.  I was working 80 to a 100 hours a week, living in hotels, and planes, and life seemed grey.  Nothing inspired me except work.
Meetings in London
My friend's daughter asked me what life was like in Japan (where I lived at the time) and so I started taking a photo a day with my crappy point and shoot and posting the picture to Flickr.

Hiking in Japan
Since then, I've taken some sort of photo almost every day.  Almost of all of them are bad. There were days when I would simply take a photo of my feet. However, the photos were a gift. When I looked at my pictures I was forced to realize that I had a life filled with friends, family, and adventures.  I realized the I should be grateful for the life I had and that snapped me out of my funk.
Bryce National Park
Later, I heard on a NPR a story about the relationship between emotion and memory.  The story posited that human happiness hinged on fully experiencing our memories, not than indexing them.
Clubbing in Hong Kong
If you ask me what I was doing on a random date last year, I don't really remember.  But if I look at a photo, the day returns to me in a rush of details.  For example, in the photo above-- I remember the weird chain curtain decor and sharks in the aquarium next to the bar.  I tried to teach a Hong Kong bartender how to make a Dark and Stormy.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia at dawn
This photo reminds me how crowded and cold the dawn was (for Cambodia) at Angkor Wat. I was drinking weak hot chocolate mixed with instant coffee.  I thought it was funny that everyone's photos showed a serene solitary Angkor Wat, but the reality was just the opposite-- tons of tourists jockeying for the best spot to take a photo.  That's why I took a photo of my fellow travellers.  The photo editor of National Geographic Adventure complimented me (though I think she was being merely encouraging) by saying she had seen thousands of photos of Angkor Wat, but none like this one. (On second thought, maybe it was not a compliment).
I'm hoping by taking a photo a day of the Bunny, I'll be able to remember details of her life that she won't know.  I hope a photo will help me remember how she smelled after a bath and the babble songs she sings.

I was once told that we experience life in video, but we remember in photographs (think about this, think of an iconic event in your life or in history. It will invariably be an image).  A camera forces you to focus on life, rather letting it drift.

Speak, memory.

1 comment:

  1. I never really thought about pictures in this light! How awe inspiring.

    Thank You!