When I was a child, people took photos mainly at special occasions and important events… on birthdays, at weddings, anniversaries, and, naturally, on vacation. In particular, it was life’s special moments one tried to capture, maybe a child’s first steps, the first few yards on a bicycle, the first day at Kindergarten or at school. The film used in the photo camera was precious and developing the pictures was expensive. Quite often, film would remain in the camera for months, sometimes even years, because it wasn’t ‘full’ yet. After all, having it developed in a lap should be worthwhile! We laugh about this today.
This type of family photography has long been a thing of the past. It was revolutionized by digital photography. This is fortunate for us all, because our life is after all not only made up of the big, extra-special events, but consists rather in the main of a whole lot of very mundane moments. When you come to think of it, the very ordinary, insignificant moments are what constitute our actual life, aren’t they?
When I take photos it is in particular those moments which I want to capture so they are not lost. One would probably remember the big events in the life of a family even without a photo album, but what about eating pancakes in the garden with the neighbor’s kids? Or the chalk picture at the front door just before Easter, which was shortly afterwards washed away by rain? Or the spring day in the park and the many cozy hours spent reading? By capturing the Now for later, you will always get hold of a little bit of the magic of life itself. It is the little details which are the building blocks of the whole and of the larger picture.
One of my favorite quotes is by the American writer and Nobel Prize winner Pearl S. Buck and goes like this: “The true wisdom of life consists in seeing the extraordinary in the common.” The daily use of the camera and not least the writing of a blog have opened my eyes to the manifold small and yet wonderful moments of daily life. I am profoundly thankful that I have reached this viewpoint. I have developed a soft spot for these fleeting moments of life which are all too easily forgotten otherwise. My photography wants to capture and hold on to that, which it is really impossible to hold on to.
When I’m looking through my blog archive searching for a particular photo, I’m often amazed and also a bit shocked when I realize how little our human memory retains. I browse through my photographs, and immediately I recall these moments I had long forgotten, although they happened not that long ago. And thus my blog and its picture archive have developed over the years into a type of modern family chronicle with myself as its documentalist and every time I look back at the moments I have collected I am aware just how lucky I am. A wonderful feeling.
I have been inspired over the years especially by the Shutter Sisters and in particular Kristin Zecchinelli aka MAINE MOMMA. She was the first to open up my photographic eyes to the small, but true moments. Her photos touch people, they tell stories and reveal the wonder of life. One day last summer I met Kristin in Portland. It felt as though I had known her forever, only because I knew her photography.. and that in itself seems like magic to me.
If you are still looking for magic moments which can be found in our mundane, day-to-day life, and you would like to learn how to capture them, then I can warmly recommend two of my favorite books about photography: “Expressive Photography: The Shutter Sisters’ Guide to Shooting from the Heart” and one by Tracey Clark “Elevate the Everyday“. Both are a plea to look through the camera lens with your heart, and not just your eyes. You will then see the small things, which are often unimportant, but which nevertheless do make life significant.
Nic has been a blogger since 2006. She loves traveling and good food. She is a freelance textile designer, compulsive DIY person, and passionate photographer.