“For me the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which, in visual terms, questions and decides simultaneously.
In order to “give a meaning” to the world, one has to feel oneself involved in what one frames through the viewfinder. This attitude requires concentration, a discipline of the mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry—it is by great economy of means that one arrives at simplicity of expression. One must always take photographs with the greatest respect for the subject and for oneself.
To take photographs is to hold one’s breath when all faculties converge in the face of fleeing reality. It is at that moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.
To take photographs means to recognize—simultaneously and within a fraction of a second—both the fact itself and the rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that give it meaning. It is putting one’s head, one’s eye, and one’s heart on the same axis.
As far as I’m concerned, taking photographs is means of understanding which cannot be separated from other mean so of visual expression.
It is a way of shouting, of freeing oneself, not of proving or asserting one’s originality. It is a way of life. ”
~ Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Mind’s Eye
I was fifteen when I fell in love with my first camera—and younger still when I fell in love with photography.
It was in my high school art class, and we had to decide a medium to explore for the year. Since I couldn’t paint or draw, or to bring to life the things that filled my imagination like my classmates, photography felt like the way to go.
My Dad’s Nikon FG found it’s way into my hands and stayed there for years—it rests, now, amongst our family of retired cameras, on top of the book shelf in the living room, an honored and dearly loved friend.
Making pictures is how I used to communicate with the world, before I found my words, expressing what was in my mind or my heart; seeing things and feeling things, and making them into images that others could sit with, creating their own stories with them.
A visual human, from the time I was born, photography helped me to bring to life all of the words that were stuck in my throat; with making images, I could speak without whispering a word.
My camera went with me wherever I went; from one end of Canada to the other. To Israel, Egypt, France, England and Spain. From state to state, across the United States. Wherever I went, my camera was not far behind.
My friends, my family, became people who spoke this visual language; of making pictures, of the things and the stuff of life.
Years later, I would put down my camera, and concentrate all of my creative forces and energy into the reproduction of some of the most moving photographs, made by the some of the world’s finest photographers that have ever graced this earth.
Settling into the world of their images, made by their own hands and hearts, I would spend hours looking at colors and making the tiniest adjustments to make sure that what was printed on the page would vibrate with the meaning it was made with.
From time-to-time, my camera would make it’s way back into my hands, but so involved was I in the imagination of other beings, that I didn’t find much time to create myself.
Fast forward through the New York chapters to the dying mother chapter and then, in a moment, to where we are today.
In the last few weeks of my mother’s life, I started photographing more and more, but not nearly enough.
My constant companion, besides my beloved books, became my camera. My camera, a different shape, a different size, felt so right in my hand, that it became an extension of my breath, of my being.
After she died, I continued to photograph through the darkness, through the silent nights of tears and the raging storms of grief.
I photographed myself, over and over again, and every other moment outside of myself.
I collected images like a hoarder, documenting each and everything—I didn’t want to miss a thing—for fear that if I lost the moment, it would be gone, just like she was.
And now, here we are—a whole bunch of lifetimes later.
Here we are, and words pour from my fingers, and my camera, in yet another shape and form, sits beside me.
Photography still runs through my veins like a river and it’s a language I have long-shared with my love—it’s one we are both fluent in.
I continue to photograph and that trusty shape and form that sits beside me starts with and “i” and ends with a “Phone.”
(It never much mattered to me what the shape of my tool was—as long as I was creating and expressing and making something.)
And so, I leave you with this, in honor of old traditions and of new; to all shapes and sizes and in memory of all of the moments we’ve spent together, through laughter, tears and adventure.
A visual love letter to my trusty friend…my camera.
How do you let your imagination fly? Make photographs, poems or paintings? Maybe you collage by candlelight! Whatever it is, we want to hear from you…submit your work here!
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