Surrendering the Way I Thought It Should Be
Over 30 years ago, I stood in the dark, transferring a blank piece of paper from tray to tray, rocking it back and forth in chemicals whose odor had become familiar and even pleasant. Those elements created magic, a ghostly image growing more distinct each second until I could see the details of my creation. I would hang the image to dry, carefully examining the exposure and composition, hoping it would be just right. It was a long, tedious process, and if something was off, it was back to square one. It really was magic. I had captured light, transferring my vision into a photograph to share.
While technology has made developing images obsolete, it hasn’t eliminated the rules and techniques used to compose a photograph. It’s so much more than a fleeting shot and editing apps.
I loved everything about photography for 20 years; however, during my pregnancy in 2011, my passion for taking pictures faded. Over the years, I repeatedly tried to get motivated to do what I had done for so long. I thought having a baby would give me the perfect opportunity to get back into photography. I thought I would take amazing photographs of my child. However, I soon rediscovered that I don’t enjoy taking staged photos of humans no matter how cute they are and was disappointed I couldn’t produce something resembling Anne Geddes’s work. After that, I hung my camera up and eventually sold all my equipment.
Although I never stopped seeing photographs in the world around me, the way the light would fall, a perfect composition, or the patterns I loved to capture, I never desired to pick up a camera. I was overwhelmed by all the changes in technology and the fact that everyone was now a photographer carrying phones more powerful than the beloved camera I sold. I realized I was trying to push myself into a box—feeling like I needed my photographs to look a certain way – a way that would sell, a way that would get noticed on social media. How would I make mine stand out?
I decided to surrender how I thought my photographs should look. I abandoned the idea that I needed to sell them or generate acceptance on social media. I just NEEDED to take pictures of the things that brought me joy. I needed to get back to the process and the magic of creating a photograph the way I had all those years ago.
Once I permitted myself to be free and creative, the desire to shoot started to grow. I selected the simplest camera I could find and made a goal to let my eyes and heart lead me. It’s only been a couple of weeks, and being outdoors, searching for patterns, colors, light, and angles has done a lot for my spirit as I am experiencing the joy photography brought me so long ago.
Is there something you have abandoned and want to get back? I encourage you to surrender how you think it should look or what the outcome should be and give yourself the freedom to enjoy the process.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. You can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My photo gallery can be seen here.
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Until next time, be well.
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