Wednesday, October 02, 2019

The perils of photographic plenty

No one's home
Laval, QC
June 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I have a funny habit.

I grab my camera by its well-worn strap, sling it over my shoulder, and head out for a walk. There's no plan. The mission: Wander. When something presents itself, I'll know if it's worth shooting.

Of course, the process is different now than it once was. The shift to digital means each photo is no longer as dear as it once was. Without worrying about film and development costs, I can keep shooting until I run out of battery or memory card space.

But sometimes I wonder if that freedom has affected my photography. Has abundance dulled my senses of composition and storytelling? Am I a worse photographer if I come home with hundreds of images on the card, and then figure it all out in post-production? Whatever happened to carefully working out the story in my head before carefully tripping the shutter only once?

I have no answers. But tossing these questions around, silently, as I walk along the empty streets that wind along the gently flowing river is good for my otherwise turbulent soul. Life has been a non-stop roller coaster ride of unpredictability, so allowing myself the luxury of worrying about something as trivial as shot counts and photographic process is a rare treat that I don't want to squander.

As I approach this highrise, I decide to go minimal. It gets two frames before I decide to move on. This leaves me more time to stare through the viewfinder and wonder about what I'm seeing - or not - on the balconies. No people at all. Not a lot of evidence that anyone ever uses them.

I imagine what I would have missed had I been so busy taking dozens of differently composed views of the same thing. Would I have seen it, really seen it, in the same way?

Probably not.

It's a photography lesson for me. And perhaps one about life, as well.

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