Through the lens

There is an astonishing thing about taking a photo.

In the moments leading up to clicking the shutter, I often get this sense of fullness. Whether I’m chasing a sunset, slowly adjusting so as to not scare the unsuspecting animal away, or simply trying to make a person laugh to unleash their true smile, I get this sense of depth. The camera somehow helps to illuminate what is often unforeseen. Looking out on the horizon, I suddenly visualize God painting the sky of His most incredible creation. I see peace in an animal that does not seek to be seen, its humble stature subtlely lingering within the trees. I see a beautiful soul behind the face, the laugh, the smile.

However, in no way does this mean that one should live an exciting life through the lens of a camera. I would suggest that the lens of a camera should instead accompany an exciting life! The technology we have in photography is a blessing that allows us to to look back on the most joyful moments of our lives — but, I cannot stress this enough, no picture will ever be as great as the moment itself. Often, when I experience the most beautiful sights, I feel a tug on my brain to take out my camera and capture it, but my heart says no. Some things are too beautiful to adequately capture.

You see, in the moment where I take a picture, I am not shooting what it looks like; I am shooting what it feels like. A camera can create an image of what simply cannot be described. I once read the quote, “A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words.” I’m starting to see this more and more; whether I’m capturing the corner-of-the-mouth grin of a friend or the vast density of a natural sight. I’m learning that the greatest photos have a story, an experience with another person, and a thousand words behind them — maybe that’s why they’re great.

I enjoy sharing my photos, and I even moreso enjoy seeing what others are sharing. A photo is a glimpse into the life of another, and further, a glimpse into the soul of another. I love knowing that others are loving, living, and making the most out of their adventures. I love seeing the whimsy people illuminate in this life.

I can only hope that my pictures even slightly do justice to this kind of joy.

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