Recently I asked the Instagram Community a question. “How has the practice of photography altered the way you perceive the world?” I asked because I’ve experienced this shift in perception myself, and have my own thoughts about why photography is such a worthwhile pursuit. With the advent of mobile photography, so many more creative minds can be a part of these conversations. Reading responses was not only inspiring-it was eye-opening. Together, as a community, with these connected devices- we can all tell this story.
Photography has fundamentally altered the way I observe the world, even if I’m not looking for the next photograph. When you study light- everything you see is a learning experience. As @knewnyc puts it, “Photography has made me appreciate the light of the world mostly when I don't have a camera. You learn how to look for as well as capture the beautiful moments life can offer, and as a photographer, you're always looking. Looking at the different shapes and light around you thinking how you can make your creative mark by capturing life in a way that's unique to you.” This desire to stand out as a unique artist drives individuals to follow their own creative paths. The people who have the drive to follow those paths, day after day, year after year, arrive somewhere truly incredible.
But what benefit does a shift in perspective have in our lives? Our reality is a product of our perception, so small changes, accumulating over time, can have a profound effect on the way we live. Think about the things you focus your attention on- are they having a positive or negative effect on your daily experience of this world? Perhaps @jfoizey put it best when he commented, “all my life, I feel like I've been taught to seek out the ugly things in the world- and not without good reason- we need to stay safe from them. But photography had taught me the opposite- to seek out the beauty. I'm constantly looking for something beautiful because of my camera. And because of that, I find more of it. What better benefit than that?” I too feel that photography has put me on a path of seeking out the beauty in this world, and the more I seek, the more I uncover.
Because there is an infinite amount of beauty to uncover in this world. Together, we explore and share in this collective experience- sharing our vision with each other across vast distances, connected by devices and networks. This desire to contribute to the collective creativity of this community can be a motivator like no other. As @jjakes describes, “Not only has photography given me a fresh set of eyes, but it has also pushed me to see sights I wouldn't have seen and to meet people I wouldn't have met. I will treasure those moments forever, reliving the past through the snapshots I've taken, and giving me a brighter hope for the future.”
Our photographs are deep links to our treasured memories, and can transport us to those savored times. By hanging a memory on a visual reminder like a photograph, recall becomes easier. Like @djpatrickallen notes, “being able to document moments not just in my memory but physically so I can reflect on them has made life more beautiful. Whether it be my Bushwick roof view, or something I see walking the streets, or a moment someone else shares that intrigues me I'll be able to look back years down the road and recapture the same feeling it first brought me.” Photographs have always held a deep significance when it comes to recalling the past, acting like windows to a far away place and time.
Photography is in itself a great pleasure- but the lessons we learn from it hold true to other aspects of life as well. @thelifeobserved brought up a great point in response to my prompt, “I notice things automatically that other people don't notice. You start to see things from all kinds of angles. This translates into everyday life for me. In the same way I search for new poses and angles to shoot my subject, I've found that looking at problems and situations from all different angles can help me solve them, and help me see that maybe my problem isn't that much of a problem after all.” Developing the ability to see things from a variety of viewpoints shows us just how many solutions there are out there for the problems we face. Pursuing different paths makes new paths easier to recognize. Embrace your expanded perception and let it help you break through lifes barriers.
This creative culture is so much more than just photography. At the core- its about communication and connection- two components of community. After all, as @queenscapes wisely noted, “photography has showed me how much people yearn to be a part of a community, photographers and non-photographers alike.
Creativity, art, and culture have so much to teach us about navigating this complex world. The lessons we learn and the perception we gain from slowing down for a moment to appreciate the beauty of the world can help us to lead more fulfilling lives. So take in the world around you, there is so much to learn if you listen. Thanks for reading- to see the full conversation, load the post below.