I started writing in my ‘Photography Journals’ a while ago, and I’d like to share some of the benefits that have occurred because of writing these notes in my journals. I started keeping my notes as a direct result of reading a ‘self-help’ book. The opposite of inspiration happened. My spirit was crushed for a while. According to this celebrated author, my photography dream would never come true. I wanted my money back!
I put my dream on the back burner, and continued my love for photography. This led me to reading interviews, and watching videos from successful photographers. I’d grab onto an uplifting quote and say to myself; “Oh, I need to write that down someplace!”. It wasn’t long before my little notes of encouragement were starting to pile up.
So I created a better way to refer back to these shared gems of wisdom, my journals. I now have journals for different topics. One journal is for ‘inspiration’ and quotes, and it also contains vital parts of interviews that resonated with me. Another journal is for ideas and creativity, where I record notes on places I’d like to revisit or new destinations to investigate. The third journal is where I keep notes on my photographs and shoots where I feel that I could have improved. It contains everything from working with better light and camera settings to moving my camera to a different viewpoint or composition. This has helped me, and writing these things down helps me organize my thoughts so they don’t get lost.
I didn’t know when I started my journals that all these things would help me become a better photographer. I stumbled into what others might have already known, and I wish that I had recognized it sooner. Dorothea Lange, one of my all time favorite photographers once said; “A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera”. I’ve pondered that statement for decades. Yes, of course, there’s the obvious interpretations. However, I also suggest that keeping a photography journal helps one define what and how one sees. This helps one see better with a camera. Ultimately, we make photographs based on what our mind sees, and we then try to capture that feeling with the camera.
As far as that book goes, well, that author is entitled to his own opinions. Defining success is up to each person, and it looks diverse and different to each one of us. Stay true to yourself, stay true to what you feel and what you’re passionate about. Do what you love, follow your heart!
Do you journal? I’d love to hear from you if you do!
Light and Love – Leslie