Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Muscle Memory

To love and enjoy anything is fulfilling.  To enjoy something and be able to photograph and preserve it is incredibly useful and important.  It's a double portion of awesome to see or experience something incredible, then be able to photograph it, to keep it and to pass it on.
Mastering any craft is an evolution, not a moment of glory.  It's also empowering.  That's why I love photography, that's why I love to teach.
Many of my students feel clumsy with their camera, convinced they will never get comfortable, never get coordinated, never master the technical and creative dance, too many steps to remember.
It’s muscle memory, it's doing and doing and doing.  My camera has become an extension of my hands, of my eyes, of myself.  I don't even see it anymore, I just do.
At first we are infant creators- we learn by imitation, by trial and error.  There are a few photography books I used in the beginning and occasionally recommend to students if they ask.  Last month I pulled one off the shelf and skimmed it for the first time in years, surprised to find that while it is still a reliable, useful tool, I actually disagree with him on several points, and can't imagine why he makes everything sound so complicated. How does this guy sell so many books?  I mean, I understand what he is teaching and still it left me confused.
We do and do and do, and one day, we realize we are no longer imitating the work of our mentors- we're inspired, equipped, and creating on our own, our own unique signature and soul in every image, created for the thing itself and no one else, to no other end.
I love to teach because in my own photography I have worked and worked to break down the complex whole into its parts, to take something overwhelming and simplify it down to its core, its essence. 
I started somewhere, then I kept going.  It's an incredible joy to invite other passionate people on that same journey, to show them how to take one step, then another, how to do and do and do. 

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