Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Seeing The Extraordinary

*This article is a re-print from an earlier Pix-N-Pens blog post.

I have been in a bit of a dry spell with my photography. All of us have been there – with too much to do at work, too many places to go, a spell of bad weather, or the pull of children and family. Suddenly you find yourself up against a bit of a wall and very dry. Reigniting your passion for photography can be difficult. I cannot tell you the number of times I have gone outdoors, thinking I would break the dry spell, only to come back indoors with nothing to show for it.

There is a quote that asks the question, "When was the last time you spent a quiet moment just doing nothing…?" I have read a lot of photography advice that suggests taking your camera with you everywhere you go. After all, you might find something worth photographing. I do not mean to suggest this is bad advice by any means. But I’d like to suggest you do the opposite. Find a place and a time somewhere to just sit and soak in the surroundings.

A Spectacular Hibiscus Flower
A Spectacular Hibiscus Flower

Inspiration comes in many forms. Sound, for me, can be inspiring. I have “found” photographs by sitting with my eyes closed and “seeing” just how many sounds I can pick out. Was that a robin? I hear a boat-tail grackle, and in the distance the bark of a dog. Then I allow my mind to wander. Whose dog is that? Is it a large dog or a small one? I picture what might be happening with that dog in that location. “Okay,” you ask, “But what does that have to do with photography?” It is simply one exercise I use to refocus my “eyes”, to “re-see” the ordinary things around me.

Spiral, Bird of Paradise Leaf
Spiral, Bird of Paradise Leaf

I can remember when I first got into photography what excitement I felt every day, always feeling like I never knew what might appear before my lens. The times when I did not have my camera along, I’d frame imaginary images in my mind as if I did. Over time this became habitual, but it wasn’t until years later than I realized its benefits. It has for me become another way to “see” the world in photographs and most of all to appreciate it.

The purpose of photography is to take people visually where they are not physically. I can sail the world, cross blue-ice glaciers, climb towering, rocky mountains, and admire glorious tropical sunsets through the photographs of others. In reverse, my images should carry people to my location. Perhaps they’d like to walk a swampy cypress trail or sink their toes in warm, white beach sands along the Gulf’s shore. Perhaps my photographs can bring them here. What is ordinary to me could be extraordinary to someone else.


Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

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