In my earliest memories of Martin family gatherings I always see my grandfather with a camera around his neck. I don’t really remember Pop taking pictures, but he must have because we have books and boxes full of pictures from days at the beach, playing in the leaves, lining up at a buffet table at some party or another.
If Pop didn’t have that camera around his neck, it was because he was challenging someone to an arm wrestling match to prove how strong he was, or trying to give away one of his lawn sale “finds.”
Maybe it was because I always saw Pop with a camera, I’m not sure, but I’ve always been fascinated by cameras and photography. Capturing images and moments in time, creating art with film (and now digitally) is always something I’ve wanted to do.
It is also something that has always intimidated me. All that expensive equipment with all those dials. All those numbers I never could figure out.
You mean I can’t just pick up a camera and make stunning images by pressing the shutter button?
I’ve tried to figure out photography a few times. I’ve owned one camera or another my entire adult life, and bought myself a digital SLR five or six years ago. Two years ago, I took a photography class.
It all still feels way over my head.
I’m trying to overcome that. To not worry so much about the equipment I own and don’t know how to use. I’m trying to just have fun with photography and use it as a story telling device. I want to learn how to use that DSLR and I want to know how to create the best possible images, but it’s time to stop letting that stuff freak me out and start just making pictures.
When I started this “create everyday in 2018” project I knew I wanted photography to be a big part of that. I want to add those skills to my toolbox and have fun chasing and making images. It doesn’t matter how I make them, just make them.
So, when I started this project I started a couple of photography projects. One I’ve already written about: I’m taking a picture of my street everyday for a year. The other, I’ve tried before, but it came to a crashing halt after 131 days. That other project is to make at least one photo every day for a year, also known as the 365 photo project.
I think I failed the last time because I put too much pressure on myself to create something awesome everyday. A lot of days my pictures were not any good, and I let that bother me. I let it discourage me. Instead of just going out with my camera or my iPhone and making images, I eventually said fuck it because I didn’t know what I was doing and wasn’t willing to try hard enough to learn how.
So this year, as I try to develop my photography skills, I’m only focused on taking pictures. No pressure. In the nine days of this 365 challenge, I have taken all about two photos with my iPhone. The point is, I want to learn how to use that DSLR and how to make the best possible images, but I don’t want to let me the fact that I don’t completely understand how that camera works stop me from taking pictures every day.
I definitely plan to bring my DSLR with me more often, to get a better understanding of how it works, and what I need to do to get the best possible images, but like Pop, I just plan to have a camera with me all the time and keep taking pictures.