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A creative blog on The Whole 9

The Photography Blog is written by members of The Whole 9 Creative Photography Circle. For a short “bio” on today’s contributor, scroll down to the bottom of the blog. Enjoy! – Mike Hayward, editor

Where You Been, Photography Blog?

Every so often you want to step back and observe your surroundings.   Get the BIG picture, y’know?  Focus on other things.  Sharpen that darkened image in your mind…

No, I’m not talking about photography, silly!  I’m talking ’bout ME!  Mike Hayward!  The so-called editor of The Photography Blog.

Yes, I’ve been a’traveling, man.  I’ve been back to the east coast to visit my Jersey shore roots, up to the Vermont woods trying to get a fix on the half-acre lot my folks left me but nobody seems to know really where it is… down to the Florida property to see how far and high the tide comes in… and (get this) no where along the way did I lift a viewfinder to my eye.  Why?  Because…

Every so often you want to step back and observe your surroundings.   Get the BIG picture, y’know?  Focus on other things.  Sharpen that darkened image in your mind.  Stop taking pictures and start making memories.

I’ve been taking some time to see what things look like without a camera in the way.   And you know what?  Strangely enough, I like my digital images better.  That may sound a bit sicko, but stepping away from the camera every now and again can renew an appreciation of not how the world is, but how you’d like it to be.

So, it was a good thing, putting the camera down and lifting my eyes up to the real world for a bit.  Re-focusing my mind on what’s out there instead of what’s in the LCD.

The next time I pick up my camera I’ll be looking at the world a little differently.  And, I pray God it’s through the lens of a Canon 60D.

  1. Hey Mike! Great to see you back! And yes…looking at the world a bit differently IS a good thing…reminds me of a quote by T.S. Eliot ~~

    And the end of all our exploring,
    Will be to arrive where we started,
    And know the place for the first time.

  2. Thanks, Lisa. And thanks for the T. S. Elliot quote!

    There’s another quote I can’t quite remember but it goes something like this -

    The best vacation isn’t one where you travel the world learning all about new places and different people; the best vacation is the one where you come home and realize that you’ve learned a great deal – about yourself.

  3. Hi Mike- I ask and whatdya know, here are you are!

    I know what you mean about looking at stuff. I find the camera to be like a divining rod, a psychic antenna, to be followed, to be used… for discovery, for exploration, and oddly enough for a medium that’s premised on surface reflections, for getting in touch with what’s deeper. What’s beneath and beyond the surface. Both with regard to the subject and in oneself.

    So yeah, I very much relate to that feeling where what one sees through the camera is often “better”, more interesting and more powerful than what one sees just in passing. It focuses my attention. It sharpens my senses. And it can be the means, the intermediary as it were, for revelation. I think that’s kind of the big secret behind all the geeky talk one hears about lenses and tripods and technical details.

    Good to have you back!

  4. Mike, Welcome back!!!! I felt like a starving dog…waiting for a bone. You from Jersey…..I’m from Jersey…exit 172….since we’re all quoting, I’ll leave you with one I use in my photography classes, from one of the giants of the 20th century, Paul Strand.
    “So finally, it can be seen that what I have explored all my life is the world on my doorstep…The artist’s world is limitless. It can be found everywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away.”

  5. Welcome back I also say! I do know what you are talking about. It has taken me about 6 months to get back to wanting to create anything after my Sister’s passing and moving back to my childhood home. Taking a step back indeed! Now I am ready to move forward and the camera and the paintbrush are both in my hand. It is exciting and refreshing to have a new perspective and a new sense of creativity. Good for you, good for me and good for the world who really needs our creativity!

  6. Every once in a while I find that I use my camera to the point that I stop seeing the world. That is always about the same time that I start to feel like there is nothing else to photograph. A little time away from my camera, watching the world with my eyes instead of my lens, shows me all the things I have been missing. no matter how hard we try (or at least I try), we cannot fit our entire world into well composed photograph. And when I put my camera down and really see and experience my world eventually a well composed photo will float my way and I’ll be ready to pick the camera up again.
    Welcome back!

  7. @briannieman – Hey, Bergen Boy! I never got that far north in New Jersey (well, that’s not true, I did a couple of weekends in High Point Park). My car always turned off for the G.W.B.
    and then I’d get lost on the Henry Hudson Parkway. I’m Exit 90/91 – Brick. Not as lyrical as Montvale, is it?
    @cherylart – Thank you. I offer my sympathy for your sister’s passing. I can’t begin to imagine how difficult that must be, especially if you were close. Yes ~ good for us to find, however difficult, a new perspective on life, a new appreciation for our art.
    @bethanyjordan – Damn, that was well said, Bethany! And what you said about being able to fit our entire world into a well composed photograph made me think: How can we seek to frame our world if we do not first take a moment to compose ourselves?

  8. Hello, Mike,

    Both literally and figuratively we all need to drop the camera, actual and perceptive – step back a bit and take a look at the big picture’s scene through our own and another culture’s eyes.

    Having transplanted myself to Norway from California some 9+ years ago, I have found that looking through European eyes can be a helpful balance to my pre-programmed US eyes. A different image appears in one’s ‘camera’ when one opens their mind and heart to other views of life, politics and culture.

    Where I take criminals for community service – Baneheia in Kristiansand, Norway

  9. Hej, Baneheia ~

    Good to hear from you and you perspective on “stepping back to look at the big picture.” I think you’ve got it right!

    Hmmm… Taking criminals to a lake as part of your community service… Interesting. There’s a story there and I’d really like to hear it someday.

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