I’m a scientist at heart, so I often look for ways to replicate things by examining the event and trying to figure out its causes. I do this in photography, too. I look at my successful images and try to figure what worked. Was it the way I was feeling, thinking, approaching the subject matter? Could it have been the location or something else entirely? Sometimes even the song playing through my mind seemed important.

In spite of my efforts, I have gotten nowhere. I have been feeling great when taking images. I have been feeling lousy. I have been brimming with confidence and excitement. I have been uncomfortable and my mind is only telling me how much film I’m wasting.

The only lesson I have learned from all of this is to pay very little attention to my mind. If I want to photograph something enough to lug out my cameras and set everything up, I’ve learned to just do it and not think about it too much. Things usually work themselves out.

It’s kind of funny because I’m often asked to describe my feelings when I was photographing a particular image, and I’m usually embarrassed to share them. All I remember of the image above was that I had to rush home and go to work afterwards, and I kept thinking how much money I was wasting. Now it’s one of my favorite images.

So, I just have to go through the motions of looking at things and sometimes deciding to photograph them or not, and just trust that something greater is at work here. It’s not for me to judge except for the final outcome.

If there’s one word I could use to describe this approach, it’s innocence. Let the mind throw out considerations and expectations. Pay it no mind. Be innocent.

As I was writing this, I suddenly realized I need to live my life more the way that I photograph. I am in a period of uncertainty about work and I have serious bouts of self-doubt about where I should put my energy with finding employment. What I need to do just go through the motions and try different things. Somehow things will work out.

~ by danbaumbach on March 17, 2009.

6 Responses to “Innocence”

  1. I enjoyed this post Dan. Its nice to hear the honest mindset you photograph with. By not imposing the fleeting feelings of the event on an image you and your audience can be free to enjoy and interpret a final photograph as we wish. I am glad you took the time to stop and make this image!

  2. Good thoughts Dan. There definitely is a lot to be said about simply honoring that inner voice that compels us to make a photograph. It can be easy to question, or to over think the situation oftentimes.

    Very haunting image here.

  3. Very nice post, even nicer photograph. Honestly this has to be among the top 5 I’ve seen all year!

  4. Thank you.

    – Dan.

  5. I love this picture, it looks like a painting, very special.

  6. Thank you Gwendonine.

    – Dan

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