The end of the year is a time of reflection for all of us both personally and professionally. As I look back at my personal photos of my children this last year, I know immediately which images are my favorites and which fall short for me. Although I love beautiful light, light alone doesn't make an image great. Just like any good recipe, a lot of ingredients need to come together to create a delicious dish.
The images that fall short are always the ones that lack authenticity. This is usually because I was too involved and got in the way of the natural moment - I became like a hover mom, desperate and pushy. "Hey, come over here and do that again," I would plead as a dragged my children over to a beautifully lit spot to recreate a moment. Sure, I was adding beautiful light into the equation but what I have realized over the years is that I was losing something far more valuable than light; I was losing the authenticity of the moment. When I look at these images in my catalog, my heart sinks. These images, no matter how beautiful, are like empty calories; they never fill me up and they don't sustain me in my photography journey.
In August of 2017, I was contacted by Click Magazine and learned that they had selected one of my images as a candidate for the Movement Category in the Voice Competition. I knew right away which image was selected. It wasn't because this was the best image that I ever shot. This image wasn't soaked in beautiful light and didn't check the boxes of other textbook photographic elements. It was honest and authentic. At first glance, you might skip right past the image but if you look closely, you see a moment in time where everybody (including our dog) is moving at their own rhythm, uninterrupted by the observer.
I remember this day very clearly. I had just purchased a new lens. I was sitting in the sand far away from my children playing with the lens with an open mind, excited about the possibilities. I watched my children run in and out of the water over and over again chasing their new puppy. There were times when it wasn't clear who was chasing who. I was observing the flow of uninterrupted childhood play at its best while simultaneously finding myself in my own artistic flow. I was the silent observer, mindful and not fearful of losing the moment. From that moment came this picture - my kids emerging from the water in line, which was subtitled "The Chase" in the Voice Competition.
I didn't end up with the "winning" image in the movement category, but I did win something unexpected - a reminder of why I started out on this journey to document and preserve real and honest moments moments. This photo and what it represents to me will guide me in 2018 as I seek to interfere less and observe more in search of what matters most to me; authenticity.
Thanks for stopping by my blog. Head on over to Jessie Nelson's post next to see her beautiful light soaked image for January!