I love taking pictures, ever since I got my first Canon SLR back in my early twenties. There is something about looking at stuff through a lens, that makes you notice things differently. When I take pictures it transports me to a happy place, my breath slows down, and I find my mind comes into focus, like the camera lens itself.
No wonder then that I have a soft spot for Instagram, as it’s a place to connect with others through photography. A few weeks ago I was asked a great question from the mother behind one of my favourite accounts. Cheryl from @TheLoopFactory (who makes beautiful knitted bonnets and booties, and shares pictures of her two sweet children) asked me “Why I photograph?”
Now being the big thinker that I am, my little brain has loved churning this question around in it for the last week or so. I now of course have come up with quite a bit to say about why I photograph … too much for an Instagram post, so I am sharing it here.
There are three main things that make me pick up my camera and push that all important button.
Firstly and mostly simply, something just catches my eye. I see it, instantly get a giddy tummy, and can’t pick up my camera quick enough to take the picture. It’s either a colour, a texture, the way something is placed, or a combination of these things – something stands out as being visually interesting to me.
This picture of Bailey (at the top of this post) sitting in the sunlight is a recent example of this. The way she was sitting, the pattern of the light on the floor – it’s all good stuff. At the time, my brain wasn’t analysing those components, I just new I had to dash downstairs, grab my camera, and get the shot before she moved.
Secondly, I witness a lovely moment, and I want to capture it through a picture. Here my inspiration is the moment itself. I am struck by either how precious, tender, silly or funny what’s happening is, and it’s that emotional response that makes me want to pick up my camera and preserve the moment. The next challenge is then to think how that moment can translate into an image.
To me, these are the hardest shots to take. I will keep experimenting though, and hope that practice makes perfect.
Thirdly, I have the feeling that I want to create something visual, that I want to express some sort of feeling. I either then have a play with flowers, or with fabric and notions, or with both.
I find it very exciting to be able to capture a split second in a photograph – that ‘perfect’ moment of expression, composition, colour – that would otherwise be lost, is then frozen in time, for you to look back at again and again, and of course you have it to share with others.
The other special thing about Instagram is it’s strong sense of community. If I’ve had a tough day, I can share some of my experience, and feel like I have the support of chatting to some friends. To me it’s amazing to connect and identify with someone you’ve never met, simply through some words and a photograph. To feel that sense of kindred spirit through an online community – I think that’s pretty special, and I for one am very glad to be part of it.
Pop over here to join in, and to see who I have asked why they photograph.