I can remember, perhaps a little too vividly, a time when I was asked to put my camera down for a photo with another person. I had been hiding behind my camera all weekend. It’s a fantastic excuse to get out of talking to people. As soon as my camera left my hands I felt as though I was standing in the middle of a room naked and all eyes were on me.
I literally had to choke back tears. The people around me had no idea what was going on and I wasn’t about to bombard them with my little episode. As soon as the picture was taken, my camera was back in my hands and I ran off to hide until the panic wore off.
It sound so stupid to write that now. But knowing how I felt at that moment, it wasn’t stupid, it was real.
Cody said in his post about managing my depression that one of the biggest things he attempts to do for me when I’m sinking is to distract me, and the very best way to do that is with my camera and Photoshop (and my new crush, Lightroom.)
On my flight back from LA last year I was a sobbing, shaking mess, that is, unless I was able to have my laptop open and work through the photos Heather and Mike allowed me to capture at Maddie’s service. It was on that flight that I realized that photography is my safe place.
At the Blissdom conference in February I was in a much better place emotionally, and rather than hiding behind my camera, I used it as a way to get to know people. On the night Harry Connick Jr. performed I walked around taking pictures of everyone at the party.
I didn’t delete a single photo.
Every click of my shutter revealed the most lovely women, radiating with happiness.
It was intoxicating.
I would imagine that the way people look at me when I’m taking pictures is the way I look at runners. With a giant question mark above their head. Sure I’d like to like to run, and I’m sure it’s enjoyable to those who do it…but…I don’t get it. It looks so, boring.
And then there’s the people who hold their cameras up, demand that their children sit up straight and smile. *sigh* I mean, there’s nothing wrong with that, yay for capturing an occasion! It’s just not very, natural.
Rarely, if ever, do I point my camera at something just to take a picture of it. I see things differently. When I look through my viewfinder I see angles, shapes, colors, reflections, movement and emotions. I see stuff other people don’t.
My mom left me a comment years ago that said “It’s becoming extremely clear to me why, even though you lived with Emilie and me, you grew up in a different place. Your brain is amazingly awesome.”
Now I wouldn’t go so far as to say that my brain is amazingly awesome, because sometimes it plays horrible tricks on me, however I do know for a fact that it works differently.
And I’m actually, finally, kind of grateful for that.