… “This is the moment…NOW…”…. Although there are serendipitous events which align to produce wonderful ‘spontaneous’ images; what I am realising over time is that Photography is really the art of learning to be PATIENT.
I have found it very easy to get caught up in my excitement and the energy in my body when I feel something I want to photograph. I am learning that I must feel and observe this excitement – but not let it rush me… not let it pull me away from being PRESENT and letting the fullness of other opportunities to become evident.
When I am not PATIENT, I find I am rushing things – not being PRESENT; missing things – not being observant or aware; stopping opportunities to become apparent; or becoming frustrated – expecting an outcome quickly by not being PATIENT with myself.
I am learning that Patience doesn’t mean going in slow motion. Patience for me is mindful awareness – PRESENCE; and allowing the opening and flow of something to take its best course.
Years ago I saw the light catch a phenomenon in the water when our son James was little and we were playing together. I was SOOO excited!!! It was summer holidays, and at that time in my life I wasn’t actively pursuing Fine Art Photography, and although I loved taking photographs, it wasn’t high on my priority list – especially in the summer holidays when my role as a mum was my first priority. For the next year I kept thinking about how I could photograph what I saw – because as any photographer knows – it’s all about the light…. and I needed the sun to be high in the sky to get the light right on the vortex. I needed to be PATIENT. The next summer holidays I borrowed a Nikon Coolpix 5000 to see what I could photograph.
I was dripping wet…. shuffling a towel under my feet to the office where our computer was at that time. I could not contain my excitement when I saw the images on the computer. This was the beginning of my love affair with photography and learning about myself through photography. I will expand upon this in a post at a later time.
What I learned was that I had a feeling – a visceral feeling in my body of excitement – and I needed to honour that excitement and idea by being PATIENT and letting it develop fully. I needed to not rush it; not get impatient because I couldn’t do it when I wanted last year; not get frustrated because I hadn’t even heard of ‘Photoshop’. I needed to open to all possibilities of its exploration…not just stop there because I had a few ‘great’ images.
Since then I have learned that PATIENCE is required in ALL types of photography; planning for
an excursion; waiting for animals to be in the ‘right’ position; waiting for people to be in the right position; waiting for the right light; learning new technical skills; learning new processing skills; learning printing skills; learning how to deal with Gallery directors; letting a philosophical idea to mature and evolve. This all takes time to evolve and develop ….with PATIENCE.
I am learning to be patient in the landscape, so instead of rushing and ‘grabbing’ an image… I take my time to feel and connect… to write, sketch, draw, walk, smell, touch, listen. I patiently experience myself within the environment where I am photographing. Being PATIENT has such reward for me… and has enriched my experience of photographing in the landscape and connection with myself.
I am learning to be PATIENT with myself in my ability to learn new skills. I have learned the value of being PATIENT with myself to let ideas evolve and gestate….to strengthen and deepen. PATIENCE involves being PRESENT. I can still have PASSION and be PLAYFUL…. all I require is to be gentle in my process and with mindful awareness …and this does take PRACTICE to master.
“No road is too long for him who advances slowly and does not hurry, and no attainment is beyond his reach who equips himself with patience to achieve it”.
(Jean de Bruyere)
I will write a lot more over the coming months and examine in my workshop; about PATIENCE in photography and each of the 5 Principles which I have recently outlined. Love to hear from you about your thoughts and experiences in being PATIENT… or any of the other principles I have written about recently. 🙂
August 13, 2012
Thank you Julie for sharing your wisdom with the 5 P’s. You have brilliantly articulated your thoughts.
Many times I have experienced late afternoon magical light – which drives a feeling of euphoric panic to get the shot. Rainforest near my home comes alive with late afternoon golden light reflected off low cumulus clouds billowing overhead during summer. Such is the excitement, that shortcomings which are missed during shooting become obvious in post processing. Too often I have missed a technical or creative detail – due to not being fully present and fully appreciating the emotion of what I was witnessing.
One thing that I appreciate about tripods and cable releases – is that they impose a discipline to S L O W down which can help with being present. Presence can also require sitting and feeling the emotion of the landscape – rather than reaching for the camera as a reflex action.
Presence helps you be aware of how light changes – it can often shift dramatically and is rarely constant. Patience gives you faith to wait for it to come to you and work the shot rather than chase the rainbow and miss the capture all together.
Thanks again for sharing and the work that you have put into this.
August 14, 2012
Thank you so much Neil for your most thoughtful and considered post of your own experience of the 5 “P”‘s of Photography.
Your sharing has also supported others to understand how having awareness of these principles can support one’s own experience and expression of themselves through their photography.
and… it has been an absolute pleasure and privelige to be able to share my own thoughts and experience through my Blog… and it has been quite fun, rather than work. 🙂