Free lensing, photography, and first drafts
I can't remember a time when I didn't have my trusty sidekick "camera", along. I was asked during a family session how long I'd been doing photography and my answer of five years or so just didn't seem or feel long enough. Brett actually received a Nikon DSLR before Anna was born. He rarely got to use it because I always took over. I shot with that particular Nikon for about 3 years and then upgraded to the D7000, which is what I shoot with now. I've got my eyes set on another upgrade in the future.
I'm at the point now in my photography where I've realized a couple of things about the direction I like to take. One is that photography isn't just about poses and perfect locations to me. In fact, it's hardly about that at all. I really prefer lifestyle photography, meaning photographs capturing life as it is. The real life, the beautiful life, the messy life. Another thing I've realized is that in order for me to feel emotionally connected to my photographs, I need them to feel much like a painting does to me. That means using the camera much like I do a paintbrush, wild and free. I'm not a "trained" artist and so in a lot of cases that is a really good thing. I can just feel my ideas and run with them, no rules chasing me down and stopping me. With photography there comes a LOT of blog posts, books, articles, and classes to potentially learn from. While I certainly have big plans to do so in the upcoming year, I also really enjoy time with just my camera and I, no rules to chase us down.
One particular kind of photography I'm especially taken with lately is called freelensing. The internet calls this the "poor man's tilt shift lens", which I find particularly funny. The idea is that you take the lens off the camera and hold it out in front a bit and then shoot. I'm certainly not that great at it yet but I like the dreamy effect of these photos at least. It sure has been fun to try! You can google "freelensing" if you want to learn more!
(another freelensing shot)
I've come to the point in my photography where I feel like there are mountains of things I want to try and lots of eyes staring back as I'm trying. It feels like there's a bit of an audience, a tiny group of people who actually pay attention to what I put out into the world. This is both wonderful and frightfully scary at times. However, I've been reading The Right to Write and it has freed me up tremendously. Although the author is referencing writing, her words also ring very true for photography or any other endeavor which requires bravery and simply trying, whether the result is perfect or not. In fact, she makes a very good case for rough drafts, stating that often we don't get started with anything because of perfectionism, or waiting for just the right amount of time. We devalue the rough draft, when in fact that's where all the good stuff happens.
Yes and yes.
As I tackle some goals in my photography, take some new online classes, and push myself to learn even further it will very much be a rough draft. Photos might not come out like I expected at first, my work may go through a shift that feels rather uncomfortable at times. But oh what joy in trying and in the art of photography! The author of the book says she has an appetite for writing. As I read that I found myself thinking "me too!", but for photography. I simply can't NOT take photos.
What would you like to do in the new year that will require a lot of rough drafts? Are you brave enough to try? Remember, "it isn't that critic that counts, it's the one that's daring greatly." (Theodore Roosevelt)
Are you willing to lay down your ideas of perfect to chase pleasure instead?
There is joy unspeakable when I paint, live creatively, and photograph the world. I need it just like I need to breathe. It chases exhaustion, depression, and anxiety away. It is simply the tool (and a delightful one at that!) God has equipped me with to take on the world. It is my worship to him, my wonderful part of life to balance out the laundry, dishes, and taking out the trash.
My hope for you in the new year would be that you find that one thing that lights your soul on fire, hat one thing that makes your heart race a bit faster. I pray you have the courage to go after it. You don't even have to share your work with anyone! But this year, let's be bold enough to take on the rough drafts of the world. We are all very much rough drafts, all a little flawed, all worth spending time on.
What might your rough draft project be this year?