While unemployed, I’ve been going through our house and letting go of stuff in an attempt to simplify. I’m an extremely sentimental person and a Taurus through and through, so I attach a lot of feelings to things, which I know isn’t my best quality.
While going through stuff and boxes that still haven’t been unpacked (I know, I know) I’ve rediscovered a bunch of my old cameras. Holgas, Canons, film and digital, even a few half used disposable ones. One of my Canons, a little lower-end point-and-shoot, was discovered with it’s battery charger and the appropriate USB cable. (Fun fact, it’s nearly impossible to find a regular USB cable in stores now. They’re all geared towards phones, with micro and C and lightning cable options. Maybe at Best Buy or something, but I don’t have one of those close-ish to where I live, so I tried the other usual suspects.)
I charged up my little PowerShot, and snapped a few pics around the yard, to relearn it’s features and settings. Shockingly, for having minimal buttons and dials, it holds several really great features. It took quite a bit of messing around and looking up the manual online, but I unlocked a few of it’s secrets. These photos aren’t going to win any awards by any means, but it felt good to stretch those muscles.
If you follow my Instagram you’ve already read some of these words. Photography was one of my first creative loves I discovered in college. I signed up for a beginner class thinking it would be an easy participation grade, and just loved learning techniques and what cameras are and why. Learning photography blends light and design and shape in a way that taught me more than any other kind of medium I’ve dabbled in.
I’m active on Instagram, and love the community behind it. Sometimes it’s hard to remember what a great photograph is and what a great Instagram photo is, though. Instagram is overflowing with shots that are marketed very beautifully, and most people are trying to sell something, whether it’s a product, service, or a lifestyle. And I’ve completely fallen into this mindset regarding photographs I take lately. Will it get great engagement? Will people think my life is aesthetically pleasing?
Social media is a wonderful thing, but I’ve realized I have no idea what my style is anymore. Clothing, home, photography, whatever. I’ve just consumed and aspirationally so. I’ve tried to make my style something someone will want to follow. And I think that’s true for a lot of us. Is something ‘on brand’? Don’t clutter up your feed if it’s not. But we’re people! We change! Brands are for businesses, people see so much personal evolution, maybe ‘brand’ just doesn’t work for that.
As my 30th year draws closer, I feel like I’m going through a second adolescence. I’m trying so hard to figure out who I am, what I like, and what I want. What if it’s not ‘on brand’ anymore? What if people don’t like it? What will my ‘followers’ think? They came here for one thing, and is it fair to just switch it up on them? It’s all pretty strange if you sit with it for a moment.
The best camera is the one you have with you, that’s true. But it’s so nice to shoot with a camera, where you aren’t dodging notifications and messages and emails. You can commit your time to making images, finding an aesthetic in what’s existing completely, without a clock staring back at you. Your thumb doesn’t accidentally exit out of the camera app, or switch to video, or change settings. It just feels a little more intentional.
What I do know, is that I want to get back into it. I want to find the accessories for my other cameras, and get to work. My parents are both photographers, and great ones. I know I won’t reach that level, and that’s ok. I’m not really trying to. I just want to keep learning and take photographs. I enjoy it, and that’s enough.