November 4, 2015
I'm getting more comfortable photographing city life, home life, life in general. Something that challenges me as a photographer is that I have to feel relatively comfortable, within the context I'm shooting, before I'm able to feel confident behind the lens.
That comfort is not physical. I've taken many photos with frozen fingers and cramped body positions, angling for just the right light. The comfort I speak of is emotional, spiritual, and intellectual. It's kind of complicated but it's a feeling that I belong where I am or I have a right to be there. I'm not merely an observer, but I'm a participant, and I've found my place.
Which means I generally don't feel comfortable taking photos of new environments, new situations. I don't think I could be a journalist photographer, and I've never felt the desire to take my photography skills and knowledge into the realm of portrait photography, other than dabbling over the years with friends.
If all else is well in my emotional world, if my sense of self and confidence is firm, I can over-ride my "I'm just new here" insecurities to photograph unfamiliar situations, sometimes rather handily. Thank goodness, otherwise I wouldn't have any photos of all the new experiences I've had.
I don't take photos out of curiosity. I take photos to remember and share the beauty of things/people/places to which I feel a connection, and generally in places (geography, relationships) where I feel safe.
Which is why I'm happy that I once again take my camera with me nearly everywhere I go and I'm not as shy about using it, as I was when I first moved here. This means I feel increasingly at-ease with city life. It's not that I didn't want to feel at ease, or even that I felt it was a bad fit. It's just that ease and familiarity takes time.
It takes time.
This is a truth I think about a lot, in fact it's probably one of the most dominant "truths" in my daily cognitive wanderings.
I am impatient with my personal growth and healing. Impatient with how long it takes the kids to learn long division and fractions. Impatient with traffic, the time it takes to make a nice supper, the time it takes to build a reliable income from self-employment.
I am impatient that I don't have exact career plans mapped out for the post-homeschool years. I'm impatient that I'm not a big picture person. There are a lot things I am impatient with. I was impatient with myself this summer, through my writing anxiety and photography hang-ups. I could go on and on.
But, in my more reflective (vs. reactive) moments of awareness, I am much kinder to myself, my kids, my family. Hence my desire to build a lot of reflective moments and practices into my life - reading, photography, meditation, journaling, outdoors, drawing, even something as simple as deep breathing. Oh my goodness I am a champion deep breather these days.
I'm reminded in those practices that life takes time. Periods of transition take time to adjust to, and life is simply a series of transitions. Transition, adjust, short period of calm (if you're lucky). Repeat.
I tend to live my days seeking out (gunning for, if you must know) those short periods of calm, of "arrival". Contrary to whatever you may perceive from someone else's curated life, also known as their online/social media presence, we are all living through this cycle over and over and over again.
None of us ever arrive, but we reach mini-milestones. Like feeling confident enough to stand on the sidewalk of a busy street in our pajamas, puffy jacket, and pink rubberboots (the easiest shoes to slip on when you're in a rush out the door) taking photos into the rising sun.
(Note about the photos: with the exception of the photo of Atwater market, second from the top, these photos are from my Rosemont neighborhood, including the views from our back porch and front balcony. I love where we live.)
Renee Tougas participates in affiliate marketing, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Whenever you buy something on Amazon from a link you clicked here, I get a (very) small percentage of that sale. See disclosure for further explanation.
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