Someone recently asked me the question, "Why don't you blog?" I stopped and paused for a moment. I wasn't sure. I love to write. It seems to fit. I guess I wasn't sure if people would be interested in the things I would write about. I have so many thoughts that go pouring through my mind each day, it seems there might be some value in putting those thoughts onto a screen. Maybe some good will come out of it.
So, what do I write about? News? Sure, I could go that route. I've worked in news for 25 years, so maybe that would seem like an obvious choice, but I don't have a news website or anything. People probably have enough news in their lives right now. I mean, it's everywhere, right? Social media, television, you can't escape it. Perhaps we should steer clear of news for now.
Right now, photography seems to make the most sense. This is a photography website after all. However, I'm not a photo wizard. I'm not best suited to talk about camera settings, landscape compositions or lens choices. So, if you're looking for photography tips, this probably isn't the blog for you or for me. Sure, I'll probably weave some technical thoughts into my writing, but I think this is a blog that will have a little more depth, some character and, hopefully, some heart.
I do love the experiences photography provides. Maybe I'll write about those. There have been plenty of stories which have accompanied my photography adventures. Those could be interesting, maybe even a little comical. They might shine a little light onto who I am as a person, what I enjoy to photograph and the stories and emotions that come from my photography. There might also be some self-evaluation or self-reflection as a result of those trips. Who doesn't need a little bit of that in their life? Certainly, those experiences could be interesting for some. Let's go with that, at least for now. I'll write about photography and the stories that come alongside, then you can tell me if I should keep writing on those kind of topics. I'll have to warn you though. I'm at a time in my life where I tend to get a little deep in my thoughts. I'll do my best to make this interesting. After all, you've spent the time to click on this link and read this far. I better make it worth your while.
In my news career, I reluctantly learned a hard lesson about 12 years ago. People don't just want facts shoved down their throats. My boss at the time asked me a very simple question. "What's the story, Erik?" I thought to myself, well, that's easy. I quickly rambled a few nuggets of information and some figures. I could tell he was bored to tears. It didn't hook him. He told me I was missing the point. I was telling him the topic, but not telling him the story. There were no characters, no moments. It was just a bunch of words. Once I started to understand that, my thoughts about news changed forever, and really, it changed my thoughts on life. "What's the story" became a mantra for me. It's also now the focal point (pun intended) of my photography.
I think it's quite simple. I'm almost 48 years old. I look at things through a different lens these days. Sure, I love to take photos, but it's really about the experiences those photos provide. I've driven and flown countless miles to capture a picture of a bird, a sunset or just a pretty place. I really just want to share the story through those visuals. I've also learned my story is your story. It's about life. It's at the heart of everything we do, no matter the profession or the passion. You're a politician? Tell the story. You're a businessperson? Tell that story. We're all searching for a narrative whether it be to look good to a client or to a boss or to a follower on social media. It's just a matter of collecting content and telling the story, not regurgitating facts and figures like I did 12 years ago.
It's also about the things around us we miss out on because we're too busy. When I took time away from working, it made me realize there are so many things we miss out on because we're just too darn distracted. We're also under an extreme amount of pressure. So much so that we forget to enjoy life. So, what's this story about? It's about slowing down. It's about seeking out beauty. It's about capturing moments. It's about soaking in life and everything around us before that life passes us by. In some ways, I think writing things down make you stop and remember.
For example, I went for a walk in the park across the street from my apartment complex the other day. There was snow on the ground and I was hoping to take some pretty pictures of snow. When I was walking on the boardwalks near the lake, a couple came up to me and asked me what I was taking photos of. My answer caught them a little off guard. "Everything," I said. "Really?" the woman replied. I went on to explain I really had no method to my madness. I was hoping to come away with at least one good photo, something to remember the day and possibly share online. I had no idea what that photo was going to be or if it was even going to be any good. I just wanted to live in the moment. Writing this story down made me remember that couple. They were taking in the beauty of the snow and each other. They were enjoying life around them and were certainly captivated by the magic of the recent snowfall. I'm glad I ran into them. I'm glad they asked me the question. I truly do want to take photos of everything. There's so much to life I don't want to forget.
Living in the moment is something that escapes us all. Photography freezes those moments so we don't forget. My grandfather gave me a camera several years back. He was battling cancer at the time and he told me, "Take photos of things I won't be able to see." I'll do more than that. I'll tell the stories as well, starting with this blog. I hope by combining a photograph with a few words, it will remind you to live in the moment as well.