Ordinary Exultation

Tree Branches-0547

Photography. Seeing. Sometimes people suggest that photography is a matter of seeing. And I wouldn’t entirely disagree with that. Photography is about light and shadow, form, geometry, space, moments. It is about observing the world around you, really looking, and exposing natural patterns, designs, shapes.

But lenses are not eyes, and cameras are not brains. They can’t filter out the obstructions in the foreground as your eyes can, they can’t digest the full range of color, light, and detail. Three dimensions are rendered into two, smell, taste, sound, and touch ruthlessly purged.

As photographers, we spend a lot of time exploring the extraordinary, looking for the deeper meaning in the ordinary scene, revealing the hidden wonder of the natural world.

I can’t speak for all photographers, but sometimes I get the most satisfaction out of photographing the smallest, most ordinary moments, like shadows of bare branches projected onto siding by the afternoon light of the winter sun. It’s not an extraordinary photograph. Maybe not even a good one. It is, however, about seeing, and paying attention, and being engaged.

The beauty of it, for me, is that it IS ordinary, and that it’s mine.

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