Friday, April 15, 2011

Are we photographers or are we hunters?

I irregularly keep a journal, a place where I write down ideas, interesting quotes, random thoughts, and where I do a lot of doodling. I was looking at an entry I made last December, the day after walking and photographing on the beach.

As photographers, we think we see so much, notice so much. But do we really? The top photo shows you what my journal entry looks like. Let me transcribe it for you here. Before I do, however, let me also show you the photo that I took at the very beginning of my walk and another I took at the very end. I like both of them. But . . .

What if I hadn't had a camera with me on the beach yesterday? Would I have seen or noticed less? Or more? Would the experience have been richer?

It surprises me to think that maybe I would have seen more. Moved more slowly. But why?

I think having a camera with me gives what I see more importance. But (for me) there's always the quest for the next photo. So while I'm admiring the composition in front of me, my mind is subliminally thinking about the next shot, my eyes flickering left, right, ahead — what am I missing as I shoot this?

We're photographers. But are we also hunters? Instead of concentrating solely on what's in front of us, are we keeping an eye out for something in addition to what we're seeing now? And is that diluting the experience of the moment and, as a result, the photo we're taking at the moment?

How many fireworks displays have we not seen because we were photographing them? And I'll always remember a balloon "glow" in Albuquerque that I never really saw. How about you? ©Carol Leigh


  1. Yeah -- I can relate. I missed a total eclipse of the sun because I was frantically shooting it, bracketing like hell. It was a carefully planned and rehearsed script, down to the second. I did sneak a quick peek, though.

    I would be happy to have the pictures over the experience, except it was back in film days and it would be SO much better today. But I did use it in a constructed image that I really like. Don't know if a link will show here but I'll try. If not, it's on my web site (URL below) in the Forces at Rest gallery.

  2. Most befitting description, Carol. When I'm out shooting with a purpose I always feel that way.
    Thanks DIane for your comments. Love your work.

  3. Diane, I commented on your photograph, but somehow it never appeared here, so WOW! What a photograph you chased and successfully created. Beautiful, beautiful image. Stunning. Thanks for the link. --Carol Leigh

  4. the world is completely different when you put your eye's on your viewfinder. your camera and your bare eyes - are two different sense-organs. I try not to use them at the same time. So when i am out for a photo shoot trip, i take the pedestrian walk, and i stop seeing things with my eyes altogether. I only look at my viewfinder, and respond to the world which i see there. yes it leads me to minor troubles, but i guess that is fine.


I know it takes time to leave a comment. I truly appreciate it when you do. Thanks!