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The Encouragement of Others Keeps Us Going

The greatest advantage of photography: it teaches us how to see.

Traveling to art festivals & shows across South Dakota and some outside its borders allow me the opportunity to meet many people. I really enjoy this aspect of setting up my booth at a show. It’s also rather intimidating; just by being there, I open myself up to both criticism and encouragement. Many times other photographers will drill me on technicalities, processes or boast about themselves. I listen, learn and laugh along with them. Sometimes I get tongue tied when put on the spot and never seem to be able to come up with the answer I would have liked had I had the opportunity to ponder for a while.  I’m not there to do anything but share my view of the world in hopes others will find something to appreciate and enjoy.

While at ArtFest MidWest in Des Moines, IA, I was refreshed by one particularly encouraging conversation. The couple, who shared with me the beauty of Iceland (and now I dream of going even more!) on a recent photographic exploration they took, were such a joy to talk to.

Instead of feeling like a deer in headlights while being drilled on how I took a particular photograph, we talked about how photography is so much more than creating a technically perfect image. Though it is very important to understand how my camera works in order to create the image I have in mind (proper shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, sharpness, composition, etc), if my technically perfect image lacks heart or doesn’t tell a compelling story, the technicalities mean nothing. And, if my image has heart and a story but lacks some of the technicalities, does it really matter?  I was so encouraged by this because I often stress too much about having a perfectly created image that I miss out on the heart.

Over this spring and summer I’ve slowed down, taken fewer photographs and paid more attention to the heart
and the why instead of worrying about the image being perfect. I’ve found that this is the journey of photography I want to be on. Our world is so rushed and bombarded with too much information, endless tasks to complete and noise, noise, noise that I forget how to see and how to enjoy simple moments. Photography has always been to me an opportunity to slow down, to see light as I meander through whatever terrain I find myself, walking with my Savior and taking time to refresh my soul in the observation of the world that He’s made. And in this process, I’m learning more and more how to see.

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