I spent most of today writing letters and hobbling pathetically–on a stubbornly injured foot–around the city with my new camera. The latter has proven an instrument too beautiful for words, and I am fighting not to fall any more deeply in love.
Both my parents are photographers. (I was given my first rangefinder at the age of eight; it remains one of the only things from my childhood that I still have in my possession.) To this day, it is impossible to spend more than an hour or so in the presence of either of them without being subject to some gasping interruption about light and an ensuing scramble for the nearest camera, or, worse, to realize the entire time you’ve been speaking they’ve been more concerned with shepherding you into a position better suited to shoot. It’s made me ambivalent, at best, about film: I love the art and beauty of photography, but I hate how convenient an obsession it is, and hate, with a passion, being on the other side of the lens.
(Given the latter fact, I am not sure whether it’s ironic or appropriate, then, that my favorite photographs are candids, and the sorts of moments I like best to capture are those of poignancy and unselfconscious engagement: whether the beauty of deep introspection or the rapture of the rest of the world.)
In any case, it’s been ages since I’ve seriously engaged with the art, and it’s both sweet and scary to find how naturally it still comes to negotiate the environment using exposure and film speed and light. I used to rail against my parents’ shared propensity to want to document the world, rather than engage with it; I worry, now, that I’ve inherited this trait.
Ah well. I still prefer poetry more; to me it demands more digestion, and reflection, and slowness, than the slap of a shutter, and I like how it almost necessarily happens after the fact. At the same time, there is something indescribably lovely about holding a camera again. I have a feeling I will not be leaving the house without this new beauty for some time.