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Justin M. Stoddard

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Camera Obscura
January 23, 2010 — 5:54 pm

My camera and I have a very interesting relationship. There are times when it feels as if it’s literally an extension of my body. No, that’s not right. There are times when it feels as if it’s literally an extension of my entire being. In those moments, time has no hold on me. I will spend hours composing one shot and feel none of the regular distractions of life. Hunger, thirst and weariness have no meaning. It’s what I imagine Zen feels like.

There are other times, however, when my camera feels no more than a brick in my hand. I have no connection to it. No matter what I do to get that shot, the camera will not cooperate.

This has a great deal to do with my personality. I’m much more comfortable in solitary situations than being surrounded by people. When I attempt to immerse myself in those kinds of situations, I find myself completely off center. The concept of taking pictures of perfect strangers (candid or not) is absolutly foreign to me. I envy those who are able/willing to pull that off.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been able to get some pretty good pictures in those situations, but even so, I don’t feel that same special connection to my camera as I would photographing an abandoned barn or a solitary trail in the woods, etc… When doing so, I’m able to take in all of my surroundings. I’m able to hear what is going on around me, breath in the air, feel the soil beneath my feet. I’m able to relax. It is then that my camera and I meld.

I don’t know what’s to be done. I often find myself in chaotic, loud situations, surrounded by chaotic, loud people. The introvert in me can always act the extroverted part, but it becomes much more complicated when one has a camera in one’s hands. The dichotomy becomes ever more strident. The camera either serves to connect you more with people OR to cut yourself off from them. Want to hold a psychological experiment? Put a camera in an introvert’s hands in a room full of people and see what happens. I’m telling you, it could go either way.

Anyway, back to the original point of this post. I don’t like feeling disconnected from my camera. It almost feels like a betrayal. (I know, I know…a bit hyperbolic). This almost leads me to believe that perhaps it’s a good idea to just occasionally leave the camera behind.

I know the camera won’t mind, but I have doubts about myself…

— Justin M. StoddardComments (0)

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