There’s one thing that practicing photography does to you that is immensely valuable and often overlooked. It forces you to see the world around you in a completely different way. It teaches you to find beauty and impact and symbolism in places that most people wouldn’t grace with a second look. Photography teaches you to pay attention and to appreciate. It’s about seeing much more than it is about capturing what you see.
I have recently started to get into photography and can relate perfectly to the above passage. My mom and I were recently in Spain and over the course of the 12 or so days we were traveling we took over 1200 pictures (the best of which can be found on Flickr1).
Looking at the world through the eyes of a photographer forces you to look for aesthetically interesting snapshots in what otherwise might be a boring world. You discover that even everyday objects and day-to-day life are full of beauty. It’s even more fun when you are shooting at five hundred year old mosques or at the Grand Canyon, where I am lucky enough to be right now.
If you’re into taking pictures that are pretty, it makes the world around you prettier. This doesn’t have to be all about beauty, however. It’s about intensity. Practicing photography in a mindful way makes the world around you more visually stimulating and your experiences richer. You may never produce the next Moon over Hernandez, your work may not grace the walls of major museums (though it may - you never know) but you will, if you do this right, get more out of life. Picking up the camera was one of the best things I’ve ever done. Yes, it took me years and years of kittens and sunsets, but, in the end, it transformed me in a very profound way. It really did make me better at living.
One thing I still need to get better at is culling the pictures I decide to share with the world. ↩