I am Childless by Choice (CBC), about which, if you want to know more, you can read here. One of the struggles that this often creates in me is this: if not procreating, then what? What will my legacy be on this earth, to show – in a beneficial way – that I was here? That I made a difference? Many parents would argue that, despite – or perhaps, apart from – having children, they also feel this way, and it’s not my aim to suggest they don’t. I speak for myself: I feel I must somehow “make up for” what I lack in progeny by contributing some other tangible evidence of my time here on earth. That evidence can take the form of service to my community, outstanding achievement in my profession, or just by simply doing my best at being myself; these are all worthy options. Truthfully, though, the one thing I have learned about myself in this is that I am, deep in my heart, a maker of photos, and my photos are therefore my “children”. Watching my photographic style develop must be akin to watching a child’s development – the first uncertain years of unskilled snapping, the struggle to find an identity, to keep learning and making mistakes. Seeing the resulting photos is a mixed bag of emotions – are they worthy of sharing? Can the emotions they stir in me be stirred in others also? Am I really a photographer, if I have no aspirations of making it my career? Is it really my life purpose? I answer these last questions with an unwavering YES. So: because I think of my photos as my children, I am proud and protective of them. I want people to see in them what I see in them, even if sometimes they are a bit awkward, or embarrassing, or even not my best work. I want others to know that I am always striving to improve my “parenting”, to be better at this. Sometimes I am asked to take photos for specific purposes, which might be outside of my usual subject preference; usually this means portraits, and I almost always give the disclaimer that I am not a portrait photographer: I’m not very comfortable with, knowledgeable about, or interested in it. Yet, some of my very favourite photos have come from these shoots. There is a special connection made when taking photos of another human, that intensifies during post production editing, and those photos become the most precious ruthless captures of all. These are the children I’m most protective of, most want to have succeed despite the initial disclaimer. I want you to like them and care about them because I do, however unreasonable that thinking is.
Being more a “snapshooter” than technically a photographer, I seldom use my camera off auto. But walking out onto a Murray River backwater at Mannum, I was able to set a wide aperture, put the camera on a post, and get this shot using a slow shutter. It’s by no means perfect, but it was an interesting experiment.