I had lunch with a friend today. When you’re self-employed and work from home like I do it’s always a treat to meet a friend for lunch somewhere lovely: today it was Jamie’s Italian in Bath. When our starters arrived I whipped out my iPhone, stood up and took a few shots of the bruschetta slathered in olive oil and crushed borlotti beans—luckily Hanne knew not to start eating until I’d got my shot. The same thing happened when our pasta arrived, and our coffees too. It’s not often I get to eat in restaurants so taking photos to record the occasion makes sense. But I also do this when I’m at home. And when I’m in the supermarket. And when I’m eating breakfast with my 18 month-old nephew. I take photos of the fallen leaves at my feet and broken doorways and daisy circles. I take photographs to anchor myself more firmly in the moment and use my cameras to capture the potential photos I see everywhere I look. It doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing—for as long as I am able to take a breath and lift my camera to my eye, I will be creating images with pixels and film. Do you have this urge too?
My constant—some would argue obsessive—picture taking is simply the way I move through the world. Photography is like a form of meditation for me and when life is feeling harder than usual I take myself outside and look at the world through my lens. There’s always a new way to see things—it’s uncanny, really. When I was grieving the untimely death of my partner it was my camera that helped me reconnect with myself and my world, and it’s the reason why I know that creativity is the fastest way to access our truest selves.
Next month I’m leading a brand new e-course sharing everything I know about photography. Photo Meditations: Infusing Your Images with Soul is a five-week exploration of the inspirational and the practical for anyone who wishes to sink deeper into their own photographic journey. We’ll be diving into compositional theory, self-portraiture, shooting for your blog, story-telling and so much more. I should probably mention right now that I’m not a very technical sort of photographer—I’m going to be sharing some important basics in the first week, but I’m not concerned with histograms and what have you. What excites me, and what I hope to pass on to my students, is a passion for creating pictures that tell stories. That move the viewer. That convey what I feel. That hold layers of meaning. That delight the eye. That’s what we’ll be exploring in Photo Meditations.
Would you like to join me?
Please leave a comment here between now and Friday (midnight EST) for a chance to win a complementary registration for Photo Meditations!
Images and words by Susannah Conway; photographer, writer and the creator of the Unravelling e-courses. A Polaroid addict and very proud aunt, her first book, This I Know: Notes on Unraveling the Heart (Globe Pequot Press), launches in June 2012. You can read about her shenanigans at SusannahConway.com. Registration for her new class, Photo Meditations, opens this Saturday, October 15th.
**Congratulations to Julie Fairchild for winning a spot in Susannah’s class! Thanks to all for commenting.