A group of Paparazzo are gathered outside, frantically snapping pictures with their telephoto lenses, desperate to capture this fleeting moment.
“Yes YES! The camera loves you! So hot!” exclaims one, unoriginal but authentically enraptured.
“What a natural beauty! Breathtaking!” declares another as he crouches down to get a better angle.
“Where are you going?” implores yet another captivated photographer, “Must you leave so soon?”
The elusive subject of these shutterbugs, the original IT girl, sinks slowly below the horizon; jet setting across the world to be admired by another expectant audience in the morning.
I have relatively few travel photos. There are 2 reasons for that. One is that I’ve always been far less concerned with documenting my adventures than I was in experiencing them, though I’ve since decided it’s possible to do both. The other is that I’ve never owned a decent camera. The only digital camera I had, broke halfway through my 4 month sojourn through South America. I managed to finagle a few decent shots out of it, and luckily other backpackers I befriended shared their photos with me.
I recently bought an iPhone specifically for the camera. It’s just a bonus that it has other functions. I am especially inspired by landscapes and there’s nothing more picturesque than a sunset. Or a sunrise if you are one of those mythological ‘morning people’. I’m sure my slightly blurry, poorly lit, improperly framed amateur shots of the moon and some trees are thrilling to the professional photographers who have spent their life studying the art and science of photography.
My uncle was a professional photographer. He spent his whole life perfecting his craft and made a good living doing it. I spent a summer working at his studio. I was so turned off by all the equipment and intimidated by how much there was to learn about lighting, aperture, framing. I was young and arrogant and thought I could just wing it, as was my approach to most everything. I pretended that my preferred method of picture taking with a wind up disposable camera was grassroots and not just sheer laziness. I deeply regret not paying more attention to my uncle's lessons when I had the chance. I hope he’s taking amazing pictures of the great beyond.
So here I am, at the beginning of my mindful photography journey. I had no idea that getting this piece of plastic and Steve Job’s matrix motherboard techo-mushery (what the hell is inside an iPhone?) would inspire a new passion.
I’m aware I’m talking about a camera phone. I mean it’s not like a Hasselblad H5D-200c Multi-Shot Medium Format DSLR. (I just googled ‘world’s best camera’)
It’s about finding the proper tools. A newfangled gizmo to add to my arsenal. I feel like a cavewoman who just made her first bronze tool. Ok, I feel like an American consumer who just realized how cool technology can be. I finally understand the meaning of the Morgan Freeman quote that my mom has hanging in her kitchen: “When you pick up the right tool in your life, you know it”.
Its still incredibly intimidating. I feel humbled, inspired, discouraged, hungry. That last one has nothing to do with photography.. except that I have noticed people love to take photos of their food.
A camera to me is no different than a paintbrush, a hammer, a pliers, a pen…it’s another tool that allows me to create, which is what I live to do.
- Molly Barata
Poor quality fuzzy Montana sunset photo taken with my handy dandy iPhone 5