Taking Pictures

I’m not great with photography. Not in terms of it being a hobby, or a profession for me, but in terms of how I respond to requests for photographs, or when people ask me to take photographs generally. I’m usually okay with it, but I rarely take photos of everyday life, or of things I see around me on the day-to-day. Photographs for me, are reserved for trips I go on, or when I meet people I usually don’t meet. Special events, in essence.

This morning, while cleaning the house, I stopped at the wooden cabinet that contains photo-albums from when I was younger – these carefully compiled archives of regular moments of us as a family. I didn’t do anything “special”, I was just a regular baby-child, but my parents had captured every single moment. Or at least it felt that way. Each photo had a neatly-worded caption under it, and it felt like I could point to a photograph and my parents would tell me what transpired on that day in history. Of course, advances in technology have rendered hard-copies of photographs and physical archives a little moot in today’s world, but for that time, wow. It was incredible to look at how much effort went into compiling these, because they would have to put in a request for negatives to be developed into photographs and then select photographs from that pool to figure out which ones made the album.

We’ve got so much technology at our disposal today that I have an archive of most (if not all) photographs I’ve received since 2013, because everything’s just steadily backed up to the cloud. Today, though, after seeing all those images, I was looking back to photographs from University, to see if I could find some I’ve taken of my friends and I. I realized that there was a disproportionately low number of photographs – most of the photos I have from the past 5 years are just to commemorate things I’ve deemed special. Spending the last month in lockdown and recognizing University life’s come to an end, sometimes I wish I had more photos of the mundane. The dirty bathrooms, the dusty hostels from the first days I went back to campus, the room on each day. Just so I could look back on everyday of my life and point to something I wanted to cherish.

This blog makes it easy for me to do that with words, but I think one of the things I want to be doing more is taking more photographs. I was explaining this to my parents today. A large reason why I didn’t take photographs was because I felt they would take away from the experience of living a moment out in first-person, because I’d look through my phone or camera lens to capture it. I prefer, in that I’m more comfortable with words, so it always felt easier to describe the things I’ve seen or done using words. I guess that only conveys some of it though.

Stories are nicer when you can tell them using multimedia, to really engage with people’s senses, so to speak.

For me though, I want to be able to capture every day a little better. So starting today, I’m going to be trying to take a photograph a day. This was an ambition of mine for the newsletter as well, just so I could sneak in my perspective on things. This is just something I want to enjoy though.

I’m not going to “set-up” shots. I don’t think I want to do that as much. I’m just going to take a photo of one thing I find interesting each day. Maybe along the way I’ll learn a little more about photography too.

Let’s see how this experiment pans out.


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