Just a quick post on a thought that is never far from the top of my head…
One thing you’ll here photographers talk about a lot is trying something new: a creative angle, shooting tighter or wider, etc. Because chances are the shot you thought of has already been made. And the shot you thought of just after that. And after that.
And so it makes the philosophical among us question why even bother attending all sorts of events, if chances are the images we’re going to produce resemble those from an earlier moment?
It’s simple. People change. The person in the picture is never going to have the opportunity to relive that moment of their life again. If you capture it, you preserve it.
Take this evening at the Seminole Softball Complex, as a timely example.
Jasmine Palmer – a freshman from Biltmore Lake, North Carolina, was up to bat, and struck a home run. Her first career home run. As the only photographer there tonight, and in a game we were winning by large margin, I didn’t feel the need to shoot a huge number of frames, and was on single shot mode all night. And although I don’t think these images are close to Getty-Quality, or even newspaper-worthy, they captured a moment in this girl’s life I doubt she’ll soon forget.
And as another timely example – imagine the humble polaroid: snapped and then pinned to a wall in a restaurant in Jacksonville after accomplishing a dining challenge involving a large calzone…
Left there for several years, only to be joyously unearthed by the munchkins I now coach, and brought to my attention over Facebook.
Or this image that I might never be able to replicate: 27 swimmers harassing their coach, all with genuine smiles on their faces!
In summary: even though it is my (and I think, every photographer’s) goal to create a totally new and unique image, from a new and different perspective, sometimes the most satisfying moments – and certainly the reason I keep returning to sports photography (as an athlete myself!) – is that you never know what that exact fraction of a second in time meant to the person you snapped the picture of. Their pain, their joy, their hunger for another win; those are the things that are not imminently visible to the photographer and the crowd. And while I certainly partake in photography as a selfish hobby (it’s fun and I get to see/go a TON of new places!), it also means a lot to me to be able to give something meaningful to others.
Food for thought, and probably a little deeper than need be on a Friday night.
Best regards, and have a happy weekend!