"Your heart and mind are the true lens of your camera."
I could not agree more. I suppose this is why I'm fascinated by the idea of photography as contemplation or a spiritual practice. But, what do I believe this means? What does it mean that my heart and mind are the true lens of my camera? To me, it means
that I am drawn to certain things when looking through my view finder. The camera settings and composition that I choose are a part of my interpretation of the subject that I am looking at. I need to think.
- What is it I'm capturing and why?
- What emotion or thought am I trying to capture and convey to the viewers of the image?
Photography is more than technical skill, it is also art and communication both with others and with ourselves.
Below is an image I captured in Vermont after Hurricane Irene back in 2011.
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When capturing this image, I was struck by the dichotomy of the messages posted in this destroyed home. It captured the despair and anger of the destruction as well as the hope and promise of the rebuilding process. In this case, my true lens just happened to be photo-journalistic in nature.
I wanted to capture the dichotomy because it summed up both what I saw around me and also my interactions with community members. I purposely composed the image to capture, not only both signs but a view inside the destroyed home showing the very personal destruction that was wrought by Irene.
- Is there a time you saw or created an image that made you stop and think?
- What was it about the image that made you stop?
- What were you thinking about?
- Do you feel every image that a photographer captures is a product of their "true lens" or do you feel that the use of a "true lens" only comes through contemplation of the subject?
- Do you think every photographer should aspire to use their "true lens"?