Passion is a vital part of photography. Passion empowers us. How can passion and enthusiasm be a vital part of your pictures. I have a suggestion……
Got a pen and paper? Great! Grab em, or power up your note-taking app on your device. Why?
I invite you to make a 3-item list of things in your life that you truly love. . .things in which you delight. Maybe they are family members. Perhaps your dog or cat is on the list. Or, it could be a special, passing event like the way your child makes that face . . . anything you choose. Just a short list of your deepest, lasting passions.
Next, make some photographs of your list over the next few days or weeks. Photograph intensely with a childlike enthusiasm. Your pictures can touch on any subject or activity, large or small. All subjects are OK, so long as you photograph them with your mindful, loving heart.
Reasons for Passion
There are good reasons to photograph your passions. When you photograph what you love, viewers know it. Capturing subjects you love lights up the picture. It tells your viewer a little about your soul. When we photograph what inspires us, the images hold onto our thoughts and feelings.
Persist with passionate photography. It will grow. Your brain builds upon its passions, unique to you, guided by how your workflow rewards you. Beyond just the images you make, your internal processes become their own reward, cyclic pattern and addictive sense of satisfaction and success.
Point And Shoot, Stop, I Observe Nakedly = PASSION
First, observe. Don’t reach for your camera right away. Set the camera aside, and observe nakedly without the machine. By observing, then contemplating, we can turn loose our best large format camera – our brain’s higher visual system- to process and associate (Google: “parietal lobe”). This lets us transcend our immediate, reflexive habits by sharpening how we choose to search out a novel scene.
A Path to Passion
To get motivated, it may help to take a curious, questioning path to photographing your passions. Get passionate about your subject by asking the journalistic five-W’s about it: who, what, where, when, and why. For instance, the photo above shows a father and his son with their dragon boat, built from discarded plastic and wood; they were entrants in a home built boat race in Provincetown, Massachusetts, in August 2016. The participants raised money for local causes.
In other words, modify your passion with curiosity. As Einstein put it: “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
Many of my passion photos concern humanity and our struggles and gestures, marine scenes, and wildlife. I share these shots to suggest where my passions grow, not to say they are art. It’s just that… well… I am excited about these pictures.
Share Your Passion in Print
By all means share your pictures online, but make some prints as well. There is something special about someone holding a print of your work. Also, making a physical print lets you fully commit to your process. This commitment will help you think slowly and carefully before you press the shutter.
Perhaps when we engage our surrounding with enthusiasm for what we love, we might appreciate them even better, moment by passionate moment.
In closing, here are three ideas about passion:
Her secret? It is every artists secret . . .passion. That is all. ~Willa Cather
Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. ~Howard Thurman
If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.~T.D. Jakes