“Dude! Where’s your camera??………..you’re BLOWING IT! I hear this all the time. Fortunately its mostly good natured “let’s annoy the photographer” stuff. Many times though, I find myself out and about with no camera in hand and get the feeling like I’m missing the shot. I guess you could call it Photographers remorse. During my daily internet trolling, I been coming across a selection of interviews with photographers who seem to suffer from the exact same ailment. The only difference is that they’ve seen the light and are now ready to begin spreading the gospel.
“….. I’ve learned to let a little control go over the years by sometimes “taking photos with my mind.” You can’t always have the camera at your side, or up to your face – part of photography is missing things. That’s a very difficult lesson to learn as a photographer, our pursuit is dedicated to controlling and stopping time. I remember hearing a well known photographer that I respected say that “you miss photos all the time, and that’s part of photography” – it came as a real relief. We’re human, the pursuit should be rooted in pleasure and sometimes it’s good to just acknowledge that you saw the moment, framed it and captured it and stored it on your personal harddrive of neural networking.” – via photoeditor.com, (originally sourced from Tim Soter blog)
I can’t even explain the amount of times that I’ve personally felt the guilt and remorse of not having a camera in my hands. Whether I’m working on an assignment, travelling to a remote location, or even just out and about, I guess can’t always have a camera with me. Neither can you. Actually, you probably can, but what I’m trying to say is that you shouldn’t. As people, we need to live some moments as a participant and not just a spectator.
It seems the legendary surf photographer Dusting Humphrey agrees with me:
“When you’re taking photos,” he says later, “you’re not really being present in the moment. You’re separate from it. I love photography, but lately I’ve been trying to be more present.” - excerpt from this SURFING magazine online article,
This message is oddly inspirational for me as a photographer. What its saying in a nutshell is to not feel bad, even when you blow it. And for years I have had that twinge of panic about missing a shot. Never mind all the great photos I’ve shot over the years, it’s always “the one that got away” that lingers. Oddly, I remember the “mental snapshot” more vividly and clearly because of the fact that there is no photographic record of it. The tendency to snap a picture and get ready for the next shot is ingrained in every photographer out there. When you’re thinking about exposure and framing, it just feels like there is something often missing from the whole experience. When you have no camera or no opportunity to shoot something, you end up absorbing it into your conscience. The air tempeature, the smell, the sounds. It becomes something real to you and the memory becomes a powerful one that you will remember. Unfortunately, I can’t really show you one of my memories, well, not yet anyway……….