What on earth do these photos have in common? Well, most of you have probably never seen any of these particular photos before today for one thing. These are pictures I have submitted to a website called: Viewbug. My sister hipped me to this place and I am completely hooked.
Now as I'm sure I've mentioned a million or so times before, my sister is an amazing photographer. She takes it very seriously and it shows. She has fancy equipment and what's more, knows how to use it. Her pictures have been seen around the world. She has been a finalist in contests that have hundreds of thousands of submissions before. In short, her stuff is good. No, it's better than good, it's amazing. Therefore when she told me that she had some of her work on this site and suggested that I do the same I was flattered. I went to the website expecting to see pretty pictures. It was so much more than that. This wasn't just beautiful photography, it was Art, capital "A".
I was so intimidated by the enormity of the talent I was seeing that I was too intimidated to even consider offering up any of my work. Comparatively, my stuff looks like cave drawings. Come on, I use the camera on my phone for heaven's sakes. And while folks who have seen my work have been kind, I know when I am outclassed.
On the other hand, what's life without risk. It's not like there is a penalty for submitting work that nobody likes. So what the heck. After a few days of oogling other people's work, I took a deep breath and very seriously considered my pile of photos before choosing two or three, created my own page and submitted my photos. Then I walked away feeling as if I had done something a little daring, a little sneaky. Like a little kid sneaking an extra cookie out of the jar and nobody knows.
I was, therefore, shocked, to find the next day that a surprisingly large number of other photographers had actually looked at my work! And I got "likes" and heard things like, "Good composition" and "Great creativity". Wow! Nothing like being validated! That's heady stuff! I felt encouraged to post a few more and then a few more until nearly every day I put at least one new photo up and every day I get a few more people looking at my work.
So now whenever I head out with my camera phone in my back pocket, I find myself looking at the world a little differently, asking myself different questions. Am I taking this photo as an 'art piece' for submission to viewbug? Is this a photo to support whatever I'm writing on the blog? Is this something for Instragram/Facebook? Is this a memory photo to look at 10 years from now and nostalgically smile and remember the event? Decisions, decisions, decisions.
I honestly have no idea what I'm doing when I'm taking a photo. It's all about what appeals to me. I see something that, for whatever reason speaks to me and I hit that button. Boom it's captured. I know nothing of F-stops or lenses. I'm aware that there is a lot of science involved and hopefully very little math. I have learned over time that morning and evening light is best for taking pictures. I think winter light is prettier than summer light. Eventually I have taught myself to slow down and to make sure I'm not lifting the "camera' when I hit the button (that was a hard one). Gradually I'm figuring out how to compose a shot where I'm happier with the result. And I know that I enjoy doing it. That's the most important part for me. For whatever reason, I just love taking pictures, capturing a moment. It is a very rare day when I do not take at least one.
I am rather proud of myself for being brave enough to throw something of mine out there into the Universe. It's not something I normally would do. Generally, I do whatever creative thing I do quietly and then that is the end of it. Oh yes, I have photos (and this blog now that I think of it) on facebook and Instagram but the only people seeing those things are friends and family. And everyone at least hopes that friends and family will be kind. Look, I am being realistic. Whether it's a song I've composed, a story I've written or a picture I've taken, I know it's not going to make me famous. I'm not anticipating being 'discovered'. In fact, I prefer living a quiet rather anonymous life. I've never wanted fame although I wouldn't turn down fortune. I'm not an idiot after all.
But it's wonderful to have a platform to share an interest with others of like interest. Most of us will never meet in person. We don't need to. I've never been a "joiner" anyway. Going to meetings and all that goes along with does not interest me in the slightest. This is different. It's about people all over the world sharing with each other something that they have in common and then supporting each other. That's it. And that is perfect.
The internet can be a wonderful thing.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.