The Big Question
Just the other day I asked myself, why did I choose to become a photographer? I was scouting new locations and thinking about photo shoot concepts when I realized that I’ve been immersed in photography for my whole life – actually my entire life if you consider I used to have cameras as toys. Week after week I roam the world around me with the hope of discovering something I haven’t seen before – a structure, a place, the perfect light – anything that will inspire me to create. And on each of my expeditions, I ask myself – why am I doing this? Why am I infatuated with photography? I spend countless hours planning then its over in one shutter release.
As I walked around with my inconspicuous scout camera in my jacket pocket, looking around corners and investigating each and every alley I wandered by, my brain was consumed with dozens of thoughts and possible answers. I’ve been married to photography for so long that I honestly can’t remember when I became fascinated with this form of artistic expression. Maybe it was a quick glimpse of a pro photographer on Dish Network or saw an amazing image in a library book. In any case, I have been hooked so long and can’t imagine life without a camera.
When I was a teenager I was jealous of the photojournalists who had the ability to travel the world to witness history being made while I was in my living room watching it on TV. I recall watching the Berlin Wall falling and looking at image after image of celebration and decades of pain and suffering ending. Then suddenly, as if scripted in a made-for-television movie, I could see a single camera lens rise through the smoke supported by a lone frail hand. It was beautiful. There appeared to be no planning – simply an artist who was one with his paintbrush. I recall thinking – I don’t have to look through the eyepiece to use a camera?
I never did figure out who the photographer was or where the pictures ended up. In fact, the crowd was so dense just seeing the photographer was impossible. The only thing I am sure of is that the photographer spotted something no one else saw. There was a moment he – or she – was chasing and he caught it in one fluid motion, with the camera extended 2 feet above the crowd. Its possible the person wasn’t even a photojournalist – I would never have a way of knowing.
As an artist, I always find myself waiting for the defining moment so I can archive it and share how I see the world around me. My search will never end. But I still haven’t answered my own question about – why I want to be a photographer. It’s possible I may never know the answer, just like I’ll never know what happened to the photographer at the Berlin Wall. For the moment, I’ll simply continue to appreciate the world around me and capture small pieces of it with my camera.