Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Oh the Places You'll Go!!!

When I graduated high school, our youth pastor gave each of us our own signed (with an encouraging message...not just an autograph :P) copy of "Oh the Places You'll Go" by good ol' Doctor Seuss. I remember Pastor Ben saying that we would all be extraordinary and do extraordinary things. That is the only word I can remember from that speech ... EXTRAORDINARY.

Since then 'EXTRAORDINARY' has been living on the 'special shelf' of my mental library. It was wonderful to have such strong encouragement at that potentially scary and vulnerable stage of my life — leaving one school & traveling around the world to start all over again at another. I didn't know what to expect but it didn't matter...I was excited out of my mind!

One year ago, I found myself in the same boat — graduating university this time and standing on the edge of the sidewalk, looking out into the hazy future, drawn towards it like a moth to the light at the end of the tunnel. I had no idea what was in store for me...just 1 year ago! Oh the possibilities! Oh the places I could go! It only took a couple months of meandering for me to find the road I wanted to adopt for my life's travels. So 10 months ago I stumbled across my passion for photography & somehow managed to start my own photography business. My father-in-law asked me just the other week....

"Had you ever done photography before you became a professional?"

I LOVE this question because its so backwards and yet totally encapsulates the spontaneous nature of this whole adventure. And yes...I was into photography before 'going pro', I just didn't realise it. 
I was always the one carrying the camera, recording all the dinner parties & traditions. "Are you still taking pictures?" and "Are you videoing?" were probably two of the most heard sentences in my life. I couldn't help it — I just LOVED capturing the memories, knowing that one day we could all look back at them and laugh (then my friends would appreciate what I was doing, then they would understand the value of saving our memories and then they would forgive me for all of the times I annoyed them by hovering my camera(s) in their faces).

It wasn't about the pictures — sure I had times when I'd get all artsy fartsy, but most of the time it was always about saving the memories. And not just for myself. I wanted to save the memories for all of my friends who were so busy enjoying the moments they would never have the time or even consider taking photos for themselves. In retrospect I realise that for as long as I can remember I have assigned myself the responsibility of being the collector & keeper of memories. For years I've photographed my friends, smiling to myself from behind the camera, thinking..."They have no idea this moment is being saved for them. One day they'll look back at it and treasure it."

It's not really my photographs that they'll treasure but rather the memories that they are able to recall because of the photographs I took. In their own way, photographs break the rules of time; they freeze it and make it possible for us to travel back through it; to see & re-experience a moment that has been fading away since the moment it occurred. 
You may be thinking, "But what about your own memories, Chamonix? Didn't you want to just live in the moment like your friends?" 

Well, I know exactly what you mean & that's a big greasy pig I've been wrestling with for years. Sometimes I leave my camera at home on purpose so I have the chance to get more involved. But I'm usually more comfortable & have more fun with my camera. My mom always reminds me that when I was a baby I entered the world with big eyes, open and observing — wanting to take everything in. Then, (according to mom), as I grew into a toddler, the teachers at day-care were concerned that I wasn't socialising because I would sit quietly in the corner watching the other children playing. The teachers reported their worries to my mom who tried her best to explain that observing was my 'thing' — observing was my way of participating (geez-o this makes me sound like a crazy sad loner kid — I totally wasn't, promise. lol). I wasn't just staring off into space feeling sorry for myself...I was watching them (now I sound like a creepy stalker child...again, totally not the case hehe) 
Anyway, I clearly haven't really grown out of this observing habit but at least now I look cool cuz I've got a fancy camera in my toybox. Plus people are no longer worried about me (at least I hope not lol) !because as an adult I can stick this snazzy label on myself that explains away everything about me that's weird, abnormal, bizarre & extraordinary.....