Dear Quiet Minds,
What does photography mean to you?
For some, photography is just a pretty picture they can like on Facebook or Instagram. It’s a picture that they can show to their friends after an amazing vacation. For others, it’s their outlet. They have the freedom and creative control to capture anything they like in the world. It isn’t for likes or attention, but for feeling. Capturing a piece of reality is like writing love letters to the world. You find something beautiful that others may not see and by capturing it, you open their eyes to hidden luxuries. I’ve always loved taking pictures, but I was never very active on social media so getting likes was hardly my motive. However, photography was not something I focused on often and it was only last year that I really fell in love with it. Absentmindedly, I would capture moments—maybe the sunset that everyone sees or the ripple in the ocean that few notice— and it made me feel happy. Photography helps you remember not only how something looks but how you felt when you saw it. Last year, when I went to Niagara Falls with my family I started to take many pictures with my iPhone 4 (which did its job despite the desperate need for an upgrade). I loved to go down on my knees or look through a hole in the wall and find the little things that no one else was paying attention to.
Often times when I took a picture that looked exactly like someone else’s I would get annoyed. Too many people take pictures of the same thing, so why even capture anything at all? Until I realized that one moment can be framed and captured in so many ways. Every photographer has a different lens through which they interpret the world. This magic was what truly attracted me to photography because I realized that my photography could show people how I view life. Seeing the beauty of the world through different lens was a captivating discovery. Even though I had an old iPhone and no idea how to be a photographer, I felt connected to my surroundings. After my trip to the Falls, I got my first camera for Christmas: the Canon Rebel T6. I had absolutely no clue how to use it but it was an opportunity for me to finally be creative. Luckily, I was able to take my first camera out for a spin on a trip to Tennessee where many national parks resided. I could crouch low to the ground and take a picture of an acorn or a branch filled with fungus just to capture the unimaginable beauty of things frequently overlooked, even if my family thought I was crazy.
To me, photography captures many worlds within a frame. Take the picture of the branch for example. How the fungus grew and developed is an entire world unexplored. We didn’t get to see how it got there, but within one frame, we see a living thing exist peacefully untouched. It could still be there today or could have been destroyed by forces of nature but through this picture, it is still alive for everyone to see. That’s the magic of photography. It is a free gift for anyone to enjoy. It expresses something through the simple beauty of sight. No words are needed to explain what is happening because all is left to the interpreter.
One frame can mean a million things to a million people or simply exist with no meaning or purpose at all.