With smartphone technology constantly improving, it may seem odd to say that ‘you should carry a camera’. The camera, as a standalone device may soon become a relic in the world of unprofessional photography. The iPhone 7 recently came into our household and while I don’t begrudge Stefanie’s enthusiasm for her new toy–I have felt less desire to upgrade for the “benefit” of a better camera. I explained to her that I feel the value of the iPhone has plateaued and is now offering minor tweaks to incentivize upgrading. I don’t need a better camera in my phone. I like having a separate device dedicated to creating.
Technology is a relationship. It has two sides. Inward facing and outward facing. What we see, hold, touch and lust after is almost entirely the outward facing side. It’s the new operating system that lets you draw handwritten messages, the new camera that lets you choose the focal point of your image after shooting it–we can all imagine sending more clever messages or taking better photographs and how that will somehow make our life better. We want that and will do whatever it takes to get it.
Do we take an equal amount of time to consider how this technology changes us as we use it?
Conversely, do we stop to think about how the deliberate process of creating with a dedicated device may be preserving something special and rare? Simply put, I will always carry a camera not because I couldn’t get good photos without it–but because I value the change that it brings about in my thinking. It changes the story that I’m telling myself as soon as it’s in my hands.
The opposite of destruction is creation. I live every day with a body that is trying to destroy me. That’s my resting state with type 1 diabetes. Being able to shift into the creative mindset allows me to directly challenge this disease–whether it’s with a rope and harness or a camera. I’m particularly focused on using a camera these days because photography is much more available to me than climbing–and because the barrier of entry is so incredibly low. It’s incredible therapy that has almost no downside.
- If you believe that you’re not artistic or creative–that’s all the more reason to carry a camera–to be free from the distractions of consumption long enough to let something new germinate. The benefit is not the images we produce–but the changes in our mindset in the pursuit of those images. A new mindset is where creativity can spawn.
- You can see everything for the first time–every time when it’s through a camera lens–including your possibilities.
- It creates a deliberate construct in which you have to make choices. Those choices lead to changes that either work or don’t. Penalty-free failure teaches us to try new things and make a habit of taking a creative approach to problems in our life.
- Photographing creates a flow state similar to what I experience running or climbing. It’s immersive–moving meditation.
- One of my favorite sayings by David DuChemin is that “You cannot photograph what you haven’t seen”. When you’re going out with a deliberate creative process in mind, you will see more of the world around you.
My ultimate goal in the work I do here is to change the story of diabetes through adventure. That means that I’m constantly examining the process of storytelling. I first picked up a camera because I wanted to tell a story–not necessarily take attractive photographs. I learned by doing–poorly at first. If you want to unleash some creativity and change your perspective there is no need to spend thousands of dollars or wait for someone to give you permission to be a photographer. Find your reason why and then go take photographs.