“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”- Elliott Erwitt
This quote is the epitome of what photography means to me. If you know me, you know that I live in a fairly small town with a fairly small amount of things to do. So, being the wannabe-artsy-hipster person that I am, I go on photo walks. It may not be the traditional type of social “photowalk”, but I personally couldn’t think of a better term for walking around with a camera for the purpose of taking pictures.
I’ve never come back from a photo walk feeling discouraged. There’s something so freeing about being able to go out with a camera and not care about whether or not the photos are publication worthy. You just get to go out and reacquaint yourself with your camera and just enjoy the peace of being alone with it and your subject.
Am I fully aware that these photos aren’t my best work? Absolutely. Do I still love them? Absolutely. I love them because of how much better I felt during and after taking them. I also love them because I remember how beautiful the scene they were a part of looked to me at the time.
Even when I went to visit my grandma’s burial place, the thing that really helped me keep myself grounded was the fact that I could immerse myself in the beauty of the surrounding area (or at least what beauty was left, given that the area was on fire), and that I possessed the necessary means to capture it.
When my cousin was getting married, I got the opportunity to stay in this beautiful scenic area for a night, and of course I took the opportunity to break from all the activity to go and take photos.
There’s something amazing in being able to just take a while to appreciate your surroundings alone. Doing it with others is fun, but I will say that it’s not quite as peaceful. Not usually, at least.
For instance, my cousin Jenna and I went on one when I was visiting her in Arizona. We hiked around Camelback Mountain in the hopes of testing out my new lens. So aside from just being a form of therapy, it can also be a great bonding experience.
It’s a magical experience to feel the freedom of just existing with a camera. You’re able to tune the whole world out, and at the same time, feel more like a part of it than ever.
I don’t know if this was entertaining. I don’t even know if it was supposed to be. I kind of just wrote it because I wanted to know that someone else felt the same way, or to find out if there’s another term, since “photowalk” has the implication of being social (oh the horror!).
Thank you for reading, even if it was a mess. I look forward to seeing you next time.