Wednesday, February 24, 2016


by Dotti

While trying to think what I should post about today, I began to think back to when I first began to get serious about photography – and how far I have come in my journey. For me, and most likely for you, photography is a journey, an exciting, riveting, fulfilling, soul-filling, sometimes frustrating, always challenging journey. And I love it!

As with most of us here at FOL, I date my ‘serious’ start with photography to the beginning of Tracey Clark’s Picture classes. Oh, I was taking pictures on a fairly regular basis before that but it was not a way of life, I had not yet embarked on this lifelong journey. Those Picture classes taught me to pick up my camera every day, they taught me to see the beauty around me, they gave me self-confidence I never knew I could find in my chosen art, photography. They taught me intentional gratitude.

I learned that as with everything worth doing, photography is a practice. The same way you have to practice the piano every day to become proficient, you really must practice photography every day to begin to even approach proficiency. Truth to tell, I don’t think I’ll ever be truly proficient at photography and that’s what makes the journey so exciting.

Photography is now as much a part of me as breathing is. If I miss a day of taking photos, I feel slightly off balance. (No snickering in the gallery, please!) The photos I take may not always be with my Big Girl Camera, often I'll shoot with my iPhone. Since phone cameras have improved so much, I have learned to love the camera I have with me and for some outings, I leave my BGC at home.

So, what have I gained from photography? Well - how much time do you have to listen? What began as a way to capture family memories has brought new dimension and meaning to my life. To list just a few:

  • A whole new group of life-long friends who share my passion, who truly ‘get it’.
  • A new self-awareness as well as a greater awareness and appreciation of the world around me, all of which brings deeper gratitude for the little things that are the essence of life.
  • An enhanced self-confidence that comes from honing a skill.
  • A passion that has the power to lift me out of a funk on a bad day.
  • A way to communicate some of my deepest thoughts and emotions through a visual medium.
  • This lovely, caring Focusing on Life community.

This list is by no means complete but I’ll stop there, I think you get the point. What about you? What has your photography journey meant to you? I’d love to hear your story in our comments because I’ve learned that behind each photographer is a unique story about what her photography means to her and to her life.

Photography is a way of feeling, of loving, of touching. What you have caught on film is captured forever … it remembers little things long after you have forgotten everything.                     ~ Aaron Siskind


Sandra said...

I think that your words very much express the same feelings I have about photography, but I don't take pictures every day, it's very much about how I feel and what the lighting is offering me! I love the tulip shots and how the light plays with the piano keys.

AFishGirl said...

Ah, good medicine, this post. Photography. Well, I went from being a word based creature (it has always been about the use of language for me) to someone who now SEES the world. Really, I don't think I gave much of it a second glance in visual terms before I started really working with a camera. Same as you, I came in at the Picture series and it was that daily practice that made the act of seeing become a habit, a nature. I learned about light. You'll often here me saying to people who really don't give two hoots (work colleagues), "Look at that light! Will you look at that! Whoa! Do you see that light?!" Repeat, in many variations of the same thing. This act of seeing is a big rest and a form of respite for my word based brain, which can get all tangled and end up chasing it's tail and going down far too many alleys of thought that are not productive or useful or helpful. It's given me, truly, a whole new world. And the friendships? Well, I know you know. oxoxoxoxoxox

Anonymous said...

Dotti, you and Fish Girl both capture many reasons I am on the photography journey. I do see so much more now -- I also needed another way to relate to the world than through words -- the connections have been so fulfilling…all of that. I have come to see my relationship with photography as a marriage -- I have made a decision to stick with it -- to love it despite the hard days, the discouraging days because it is so worth it in the long run…and anything worthwhile is worth sticking with. This makes it sound like it's a struggle, but it's not, most days it is pure joy.

kybarb said...

Great photos and post Dotti! I especially love the light and perspective for your piano photo! I'm so happy to continue to learn more about photography and myself with everyone here at FOL. You all have taken up where Tracey Clark and her photo classes left off --teaching me so much more than just photography. Thank you all:)

terriporter said...

It sounds like we all learned quite a bit in those Picture classes, about photography and about ourselves. And we not only gained some photography knowledge, we learned the joy of daily (or sometimes a bit less frequent) shooting and how photography can open our eyes to so many things we never would have noticed otherwise. And the fact that we are all of a like mind has created friendships that are so dear and long-lasting. I don't know if others in those classes have continued on this journey but I'm so grateful that we did. :-)

Barb said...

Dotti, I'm much like you. I shoot with whatever I have with me. I love the editing process, too - it's part of my creativity. I love combining photos and words to convey a story. I like your chosen focus in these photos.

Lisa said...

Oh I love this post. I feel the same but wish I had discovered photography when my kids were babies and not later in their teen years. I do envy those who have built friendships around this craft though. What you've established here is beautiful.

Cathy H. said...

Photography has brought me enjoyment and friendships, but most of all it brings me peace and joy. I am delighted by the details, shapes and light that my eyes now see. I am so thankful I took that first Picture Class where my photo journey began and where I met such wonderful friends. I love the piano shot; gorgeous light!

Susan Licht said...

I feel like you got inside my head here, Dotti. I can relate to everything you wrote. I too was inspired to start photographing after coming across Tracey's work and Shutter Sisters. For me, the best part of this passion of ours is the people I've met along the way, the many wonderful friendships formed. So nice to have a network full of inspiration and support.

Susan Licht said...

Oh, and these photos are stunning, Dotti!

Sarah Huizenga said...

For me it gives me a constant challenge and learning opportunities. I never went to college, having no idea what I wanted to do at 18, so I am getting my education now, doing something that I truly love, and I never get bored with it.

kelly said...

I'm just nodding along with everything you've said here dotti. photography, as an art form, has also helped me to see the world differently...see myself differently. and in an often time dark and weary world it reminds me of all of the beauty and life.

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