Reasons to Photograph

My friend, David LaBelle, has challenged me in so many ways over the last two decades – and that’s a time frame that predates our meeting a decade ago.

He’s done it again … at Ruralite, he’s put together a top 10 reasons for photographing and … well … I am really struggling with some of them.

No. 10 — I’m terrible at living or participating in my own life. Often, it’s easier to live vicariously through the lives of others. A camera allows me to do this. It’s less messy and painful, and it requires less introspective work on my part.

That’s it – I got stopped right there. For so many years I have used my camera as a shield, used it to avoid deep connections, used it to look into others instead of myself.

That’s brutally hard to admit to.

I have thought for years that I’m an empathetic person, that I listen and care and react and interact. But maybe I don’t in all situations – maybe, when working, I only saw people as they were rendered through a lens, not as they exist in front of me.

I’ve been staring at that first reason for almost a month – I’m not sure I’m any closer to understanding how it fits me.

Mark E. Johnson

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