“What i like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.” ― Karl Lagerfeld
Continuing on with our series of photography tips, this week we are talking about capturing moments as they happen and letting go of perfection.
Are we robbing future generations of the truth if we are manufacturing our moments in the relentless pursuit of perfection?
Tip Two - Practice photography with intent
Open your phone for me, and have a look through your camera roll. How many selfies feature? Are there 23 images of yesterdays coffee for Instagram? Did it take 55 takes to get your child to look at the camera? And how annoying is it when your friend blinks in every single shot?!!!!
In the digital age it is so easy to get carried away with achieving the "perfect" shot. Sharp, in focus, perfectly exposed, with everyone looking straight down the lens and smiling blissfully at the camera. I watch mothers at the park begging their kids to stay still, to smile at the camera. The more she begs the more wriggly the kids become. Or at weddings when guests crowd the aisle obsessed with capturing the bride appear for the first time and completely miss the groom's tears as he watches his bride approach.
We take shot after shot, before pouring through the images to select the perfect image to post on our socials. We are so obsessed with perfection that we seem to be missing the point.
From my own camera roll...
Before sitting down to write this post, I decided to go through my own camera roll. To see what moments made me stop, that tugged at my heart strings. That my kids' kids could look back on in years to come and get a sense of our story.
My son LOVES animals and so when I had the opportunity to capture a Pre-Wedding Session an hour from Dubbo I decided to take him with me and add on a mini adventure at Dubbo Zoo. This hot, sweaty selfie was taken together as we were about to embark on a Safari tour. For Mother's Day last year my son printed out this image of us together, framed it and wrapped it as my present. He remarked as he handed it to me that I would ABSOLUTELY love the present he chose for me. I did.
My husband and his son follow their footy team avidly - this is the moment their team were seconds away from snatching victory in the last moments of the match. They are so fiercely invested in their team that its hard to watch sometimes!
Rocky was 14 years old in this image, he has been alive longer than my son. He and Ty were best of friends. Rocky was put to sleep only a few weeks after this photo was taken.
At the starting line of the 100mm sprint - sums him up in one single capture.
My biggest girl (on left of image) is athletic, beautiful and fierce. So this not so perfect moment of her playing representative AFL encapsulates her fire and spirit.
My daughter and I take our dogs to the park regularly, we walk and talk, laugh, and Ty enjoys hanging out with his big sister and climbing all the trees.
None of the images are particularly spectacular, they are simply images captured to remind me in years to come, of the moments that came before.
So how do we change our way of thinking? And do we really need to?
The great Ansel Adams talks a lot about photographing with intent - intention gives a photo personal meaning by pairing a story with the image. So do we remove the meaning of an image by capturing the same moment many times hoping to create the perfect moment? Are we robbing future generations of the truth of a moment? Or am I being overly dramatic.
I am as guilty as the next person of taking a million photos - its part of the beauty of the digital age!! Right? I am not convinced.
I love polaroids, each of my kids have a polaroid camera and every year I buy them a 20 pack of film. It imposes a limit. They only have 20 shots. So the shot that they take is the moment captured. It's brilliant!! The results are wonderful, blurry, eyes shut, heads cut off - they always result in giggles at how hilarious we look. It is somehow freeing. It releases you from feeling as though nothing less than perfection is ok.
Below is one of my most favourite images of my kids together, it was captured on polaroid Christmas morning quite a few years ago, my son was crabby (probably because he woke before the sun came up), my gorgeous middle girl has her very new braces on her teeth, and my beautiful oldest girl has that stunning smile on her - almost a grown up - face. Something draws me back to this image time after time. It feels real.
My oldest daughter takes a polaroid at every major event that she attends, birthdays, Christmas, weddings. I love checking out all the new polaroids that she has added each time we visit her.
My challenge for you this week is to take one single image at a time, to photograph your moments with intent.
Then post your favourite moment in the de lumière community Facebook Page - I would love to hear what you think!
“A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away.” ― Eudora Welty