Lets start from the beginning.
Photography was always a hobby. It was always something that was a great source of fascination for me, before I knew about the existence or functions of DSLRs, or the different kinds of cameras that existed.
I distinctly remember running around the house with Dadda’s Motorola phone during a time where 2megapixel phone cameras were among the better ones, if you were lucky enough to have a parent who owned a cell phone with a camera.
I’d experiment with light and shadows, and try taking pictures from wacky angles to see what kind of effects they brought.
Fast forward about 3 years, where I discovered the versatility of “focus”, in a compact camera. I stumbled upon the camera’s macro settings and experimented with focusing on things close and far – and changing the distance between a subject and its background and observing how that changed the look of a picture. It was all so fascinating, and I slowly began to realise how much the camera mimicked the eye.
I’d pick up a flower and hold it as close as I could – keenly observing the folds in the petals and the fibres on the pollen. Then I’d stretch out my arm and hold it against the rest of the plant. That provided the context of the flower – where it came from, what it looked like before, what it would look like in a few days.
I could see things in such different ways, with different contexts, and have the camera mimick that. How interesting!
A couple of years after that, I discovered Manual Focus in a cousin’s DSLR. I was blown away by how much control one could have over an image – you could literally MAKE PEOPLE SEE WHAT YOU SAW.
I spread out the things on the dresser and tried taking different images, changing focus each time. These things weren’t just “things” anymore – they were my primary subjects in an image. Make-up brushes and blush palettes were more than just cosmetic items, they were objects with intricate details worth observing.
It was here that I discovered the beauty in details.
This, in combination with realising the parallels between the eye and the camera changed the way I looked at the world. I looked more. I saw more.
The world was massive and worth taking in all at once, but it was also made up of tons of tiny details, equally worth taking in.
When you look through the viewfinder in a camera, you’re looking with the intent of capturing something. You aren’t just looking because you need to look, you’re looking because you want to look. You’re looking because you think that there’s something worth looking at, beyond what you’re looking through.
Translating this into intent, even without a camera in front of me is what the result of this paradigm shift was. There is so much to see, if one looks.
Jump ahead to about 5-6 years later. Photography is one of the many things in life, it’s a thing I do for other people from time to time. It’s always enjoyable, no doubt, but the initial spark isn’t as sparky – the joy isnt overt and I dont physically jump up and down in excitement after getting a decent shot.
Shinier, newer, better equipment is on the table many times, and going back to the basics isn’t a thought worth exploring…
…Up until this past weekend, where I spent a few days at my grandma’s house and happened to take my camera along, merely because I needed to do a little photo-based work just before heading there. After finishing the work, I decided to leave my camera out instead of packing it away immediately, as is usually done.
I caught a train, and took a few pictures of this and that.
This was when I re-lived my initial epiphany.
I don’t mean to sensationalize or blow out of proportion something so normal. It wasn’t a sudden moment experienced with round eyes and in slow motion, however;
The whole process of re-looking at the ordinary, through a different perspective – that’s what came flooding back.
Mundane routes walked, ordinary places visited, normal people seen: they all took on this colour that I had once known but eventually forgotten.
I think its safe to say that I’ve rediscovered the joy of photography. Regular household objects become items worth immortalising.
Photography changes the way I look at things, and somehow brings to life this innate idealism in me that most of the time lies dormant. There is so much more to explore in this area.
Maybe it should be less about documenting the big moments, and more about celebrating the little ones.
Taken over 17/11/16 – 19/11/16.
All photos taken on my standard, kit lens.