Photography – right alongside triathlon and swimming – is one of my greatest passions. Yet even though I love it, and it makes me extraordinarily happy, I occasionally question why I continue to do it, and what separates me from the many millions of other photographers (and smartphone camera users) the world over. And honestly, I don’t have a really good answer yet. As I practice and refine my techniques, I think that I am pushing myself away from more and more “snap shooters” and that I am in some way differentiating myself. And regardless of where and how I am as a photographer now, I will continue to aspire to be better and different, as I do in athletics and school.
But I realized over the last several days, one of the most important aspects of photography is capturing emotion. This past Saturday night I went to the swim banquet for the team that I help coach, and there I saw two different slide shows of pictures, some of which I took, and some of which were taken YEARS before I even touched a camera. I even had my camera at the banquet and shot about 250 images of people! Then yesterday morning my father suggested I go to the Florida Law Enforcement Memorial and see if I could get a couple really good images. And I did – on both counts.
The thing both days had in common was emotion – capturing a fleeting moment: of happiness, tragedy, ecstasy, regret…composition and technique will aid in the creation of a powerful image, but in the end, the important thing is capturing the moment, and preserving the emotion as you saw it. I actually get more emotional sometimes going back through pictures that I took at an event, because I can sit there and digest a single frame, a tiny slice of time, for however long I need to or want to. I knew in my heart after I left the banquet Saturday night, and it was only reaffirmed yesterday, that no matter what, I will continue to try and make my photography different, but even if I fail, and I fade into the dust as just another faceless man behind a camera, hopefully I will have left my subjects with images that mean something to them, and that they will treasure for years to come.
And on that note, please enjoy what I think are some of the most emotional images from the last few days, and if you have a couple minutes, feel free to check out this SLIDESHOW that I made after the memorial yesterday – I think the music really rounds out the photos.