The Joy of Photography, Part 1

Many people know that, in addition to working as a trial consultant, I am a professional photographer. During college, and afterwards for about 5 years, this was my full time occupation. After that 5 years, I returned to graduate school, finished my M.S. degree and got into the trial consulting world; as I have told many people, I married into it. A recent event triggered this post on photography, though. I sent a few photos on a CD to the recent widow of a good friend, Charles, who passed away earlier this year. I had taken photos of him in his “lawyer life” and personal life – especially out in the Florida woods and Everglades. In addition to my photos of him, I had access to an archive of a few more photos shared with me prior to his memorial service. I compiled this into a small archive to send to Debbie, who responded with tremendous gratitude. For me, it was a simple act; I’ve shared thousands of photos over the years, mostly print, but some electronically in recent years. And, often, during college and my photography career years, these shared photos were actually bought from me. But, even those who paid for them usually thanked me for them as well. They were often of events that created life long memories for them – such as weddings, family reunions, or family portraits. It was personally rewarding to me to realize that the images I created brought happiness to others. One notable expression was the father of a bride at her wedding. He was a bit difficult to work with on the wedding day, but we got through it and we had some “pretty pictures” of everyone. When he got the proofs, he thanked me and told me he didn’t remember any of that day because of the pain medication he had been taking that day (he may have added to it with some liquids). But, as it turned out, he’d had surgery the week prior to the wedding and was really out of sorts. My photos filled in for his missing memory of his daughter’s big day. Debbie’s comment, and the scenario just related, remind me of one of the joys I find in photography – bringing a little happiness to our crazy world. Kodak published a book called The Joy of Photography in 1979, so I borrowed the book title for this 2 part post about the intrinsic rewards I find with cameras. Stay tuned.

David’s photographs are lovely!  Indeed, he has brought joy to many people over the years with his beautiful images of their lives.  When people appreciate his generosity in sharing his photos, it is wonderful.  There are, thankfully, more people like Debbie who thank him for going to great lengths to send them photos than others (who will remain nameless) who have never thanked David for taking photos, usually, at their request.  David’s photographs are fine art.  They are copyrighted.  They are not to be taken lightly.  They are his expressions of the world as he sees it.  Often, David becomes caught up in taking photographs to the point he becomes somewhat excluded from the important events he is documenting.  A recent example is his dad’s 87th birthday party, during which David photographed all of the guests, that is, all of the guests except himself.  Neither David nor I realized this serious omission until we looked at all of the happy people portrayed in the photos.  David is accustomed to this type of exclusion, but it is still difficult to appreciate the degree to which David is working, hard, when the rest of us are having fun.  I’m glad David has continued to pursue his love of photography now that it is more of a hobby than a job.  And, I’m even more delighted that he finds joy in his ability to provide happiness to people through his wonderful photos.

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