If someone was to ask me why I enjoy taking photos, I would not be able to sum it up in just a few words. They would need a coffee or tea, and at least an hour with me to fully understand why I love photography so much.
And let’s be clear. I don’t like all photography. I like natural, raw, and candid photography – nothing in a studio and nothing staged.
So, let me begin. I heard someone say recently that “ if we hunger for things that exist – then why does life constantly leave us hungry for something more?” You don’t see lions or any other animal constantly changing its diet or trying to “branch out.” It feeds off of what it has, and though it cannot speak, the animal seems content. Humans are different. We are constantly developing new hungers, new thirsts, constantly seeking something beyond what we have and are able to currently obtain. Rarely, are we content. We work hard at the gym, at the job, at the class, because we maintain a hunger for something “beyond.” I would argue, that we will not satisfy that hunger on Earth. Rather, we are filled with a hunger for something greater than this world can offer. That is why in every corner of the world, you see religion. People turn to religion because they recognize that there is something greater than what they have, and they set out to find it.
I am constantly at odds with my career. I probably frustrate every supervisor and friend who cares to listen to me because I cannot settle. I am never satisfied with what I am doing. I am never fulfilled. Why? I believe it is because I have a higher expectation of work. It needs to bring meaning into my life. But more often than not, doing the work I am commanded or tasked to do, does not give me meaning. Especially, when I do not see the – fruits of my labor. I start to question why I am killing myself, sacrificing the best years of my life for something that I believe in less and less. When you feel like a hamster spinning its wheel in yet a bigger hamster cage with larger spinning wheels, you find yourself questioning what is the meaning of any of this?
Anyone can make up whatever argument they want to try and convince me of why we go to work every day, but it is likely not going to convince me. As I spend time, as I often do, in self reflection, I realize that what is truly important to me is knowing that I am making a positive difference – that I am adding beauty to someone’s life, that I am helping them to find their meaning nay (yep I went there) even their value. I feed off off making people feel valued. It’s difficult to do that sometimes when you’re constantly at the grind of work or school. But that is what feeds my hunger.
Placed in the wrong environment, which has occurred many times over, I lose myself in making a person feel loved and valued. Given the wrong friendship, the wrong relationship, the wrong dynamic with a person, I will sacrifice everything to help someone recognize their worth. But when they don’t want to believe what I say, or if what I offer is not enough, I can find myself either abused or abandoned.
So, why did I fall in love with photography? Because for me, it is the simplest (and maybe safest) form of recognizing beauty and purpose, and then sharing that beauty with anyone willing to look. Maybe they are someone who sees life as a dark and lonely place. Could a photo renew their outlook on life?
I prefer taking raw photos. If I have to edit a picture, it’s only to further convey the same message – look, here is something beautiful. But I set out to leave the photo in its rawest form. Studio photography saddens me because in that environment there is an overuse of photo editing – teeth whitening, wrinkle reducing, scar removal, body slimming, etc. To me, there is beauty in the raw! That is why I have written this blog and chosen the photo above. This woman did not need to be trimmed or modified. I saw her walking through the streets of Amsterdam, and it was her smile that caught my attention. It was so genuine and full of light that I approached her and asked to take her photo.
Friends, if you stay on this blog long enough, I hope the effect it has on you is a renewed perspective of what is beautiful and meaningful in your life. There is an abundance of it, but the grind we call our day-to-day often causes us to lose sight of that beauty. This is true even for me. While we continue to hunger for what lies beyond, let us not forget to live today with meaning and purpose. This is why I have found myself praying for just one person, one person each day on whom I can shed a little light, a little grace, a little love. Make today about being what is beautiful in someone else’s life.
1 thought on “Recognize What is Beautiful”
Love the introspection, Lyndsey. I understand much of what you wrote. You’re pretty atypical in some ways. Thanks for sharing some thoughts from your journey.
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