Photography Brought Me Back to Myself

The world is so amazingly beautiful.
Yesterday, I wrote about poetry and the deep impact it had (and still has) on my life. Poetry saved my life as a teenager and there is absolutely no denying that fact. 

But, I also can't say that poetry helped me that way after I'd had Remy and was finding it so hard to remember who I was as an adult human being. (My whole life revolved around taking care of his needs 24/7, which is appropriate for the first year or two, but after that gets a little tedious.) Even as an (at that point undiagnosed) Autism mom, I had to find a way to bring creativity back into my life. 

I was still writing poetry. In fact, I had reverted back to those old-school days of writing on sheets of paper (in college, I started composing on computer, which is still my preferred method) because I had long stretches of time to write while waiting for various things, when I was not connected to my computer (this being in the dark ages before I got my first iPod Touch). 

But there was no one else to connect to my poetry at that time. (I found myself falling away from my online support because getting online was too hard and also, I had just moved and had no new poetry circle or friends who liked poetry.) It felt disconnected and wasn't helping me "find myself." It was just what I did, if that makes sense... I needed a new artistic outlet.


There aren't many great photos of Remy in his first year. (Or even most of his second.) But then my friend who had a DSLR took some photos of us. And then she took some more. And I saw that while her gear was obviously better than mine, really what it came down to was actually finding time to take photos, knowing my camera better and composition. And so, before I bought my fancy camera, I worked on those three elements.

We loved walking and stopping to look at rocks.
Finding time for taking photos of my child came pretty easily after he started walking. I just had to remember to take out the camera. In some ways, it was easier to take out the camera while we were out -- it meant I could let Remy do his own thing (which he would), while following him and taking photos. 
We did a lot of walking/ wandering. We'd go to the park and Remy would set off to see what he could see. And I would follow and document. It was a perfect match. (Except, obviously, when the camera had to go away because I needed to redirect him from something or other.)

Knowing my camera better meant one huge thing: turning off the flash! 

Best onsie EVER! "Question Authority!"
Too many of my first year photos of Remy look like this:

Holy Amazing Red Eye and Washed Out Skin, Batman! Eeep. 

But while it isn't the best composition ever, I kind of like how Remy's lips are smack dab in the upper "power point" here. (It'd be better if his eyes were there, obviously. But his lips are pretty amazing.)

I can't remember ever formally learning composition (until my class last fall). My mom is a visual artist (an amazing painter), so we had a lot of art in our house, but since I wasn't good at realistic art, my playing around was usually praised for having "good color and composition" by our mom and so I worked harder on those two elements.

He's amazing.
Since I was shooting from the hip (literally) with my small point and shoot a lot when Remy was little, it's really only in the past year or two, since I got my DSLR that I've been able to really get down and work on photographic composition. 

The DSLR didn't make me a photographer, but it helped me find my photographic "voice." 

And then we moved here. And Remy went to preschool full-time and I took an actual photography class last fall. And Whoosh! My artistic freedom was truly unleashed.

And I am growing and learning and loving photography. 

And these days, I'm starting to play with the intersection of the two (photography and text) and I am loving that process, too. 

Photography didn't save me the way poetry did. But it definitely brought me back to myself, to expressing myself in a creative way (that I could easily share with other people). 

And for that I give thanks. Always and ever, thank you.