Webster defines photography as “the art or process of producing images by the action of radiant energy and especially light on a sensitive surface (such as film or an optical sensor).”
This, of course, is technically correct. It’s not, however, what the essence of photography is for me. In my experience, photography is less about capturing imagery and more about immersing one’s self into a place or an event.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a beautiful photograph. I have prints and books littering my shelves and a digital archive of personal photography that is indicative of a compulsive personality. That said, my experiences and memories of an event or a place are enhanced by the act of photography if I never transfer a single file or print a single image. The simple actions of looking, framing and extracting a moment out of the continuum enriches the experience.
Pausing in a busy concourse.
Looking for stories on the subway.
Noticing an expression on a stranger’s face that emotionally connects you to an event about which you know nothing.
Capturing experiences on a ferry ride.
A recent trip to New York, my first in years, was enriched not only by the photographs I now possess, but by the process of capturing them. The camera gives purpose to pause and reflection.
You observe moments that might otherwise pass you by.
And you engage with people in ways you otherwise would not.
Fleeting moments become memorable
And memorable ones find permanence.