Presence

AF-S NIKKOR 24–70mm f/2.8G

What is photography? This is a philosophical and complex question.

To me, photography is a presence—it is a way of engaging and “being” in this world. For me, photography is an extension of myself and how I show others the way I view the scene that presents itself in front of me. Not only does photography demonstrate who I am, not only does it enable me to express my attentiveness to that particular scene, but photography reifies my attentiveness to the environment around me. Photography broadens my perspective and inspires me to look into the scene much more closely.

I answer this question by imagining the process of making a photograph. With every photograph I make, I am creating perspectives; however, which perspectives are these? Windows or mirrors? What particular perspective you present is determined by the intention. Note: by claiming that you had no intention when you made the photograph is in itself a certain intention.

Intention. Where the photograph is going and how it will be used, or not used, determines how and what is being photographed. The question of function of a particular photograph is a subjective one. A function of a photograph could be to inspire, to tell a story, to record (an historical event, a legal event, a news event, a private event…) The fact is that there are many purposes of a photograph, but the subjective perspectives and intentions enforce and shape each other in the making of every single photograph.

I set out on a photo shoot trying to demonstrate either the window or the mirror perspective. I took an escape into the woods with my visiting sister. However, I realized that I was just photographing in the rawest form—I was photographing what I wanted to photograph, pausing at whatever it was that captivated me. First, I was captivated by the world away from campus. Then I was captivated by my sister, who I rarely see, next it was nature, then it was both my sister and nature together, then finally I was just captivated by the attentiveness of being present. In the end, what emerged from this exercise was a beautiful morning captured and immortalized through these photographs that represent both the window into this particular morning and the mirror reflecting what was so captivating that I had chosen to capture the moment, and then linger and explore it a bit longer. I present real life windows into the perspective of my mind’s and eye’s mirrors. I took away from this experience the familiar feeling that I get while photographing—the feeling of pure attentiveness that photography elicits from me and thus, the questioning of why I do not photograph more if I like the way that I am with a camera.   

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