ON MAKING PROGRESS.
This is a picture of my father taken on his first birthday, around the same age that I was when he left my mother and I. It is an image I hadn't seen before and it got me to thinking about my progress along this journey into film. Maybe more specifically, it made me think about the reasons for what feels like my slow progress.
Forty days into this and I've only shot three rolls of film. A measly 48 images. So many days slip by and I realize I didn't pick up the camera, study the manual or even think about my next item on my 'shoot film' list. I was beginning to feel discouraged - already so far behind where I had hoped to be!
Fortunately, I was able to watch the rebroadcast of Joy Prouty's keynote speech at the Click Away conference and regained some perspective. Listening to Joy, all of the deep, real, and painfully raw emotions I felt at her Wildflowers Photography Workshop came flooding back. Her remarks were emotionally stirring, but left me with a sense of peace and reassurance afterward. Joy's great like that, she has a way of breaking open the soul to heal it in the most beautiful of ways.
You see, one of the main reasons I haven't made rapid progress learning to shoot film is an intentional choice to spend more of my days fully present with my young children. Last winter's workshop was a beautiful reminder of what I truly valued in life, but as the months crept by, feelings of self-doubt and criticism started to sneak back in to my daily life. I ended up wasting much of last year, wrapped up in social media and photography pursuits that took me away from so many precious hours with our rapidly growing little ones. While I was physically present, my attention was fragmented and torn between multi-tasking and fretting over to-do lists. I spent significant time working to improve my photography, but less than enough time authentically playing with my own children.
Major life changes have blessed our family with a new beginning of sorts. Fresh rhythms and routines have made the start to this school year beautiful. So far, the greatest gift of shooting film (besides a few images that take my breath away), is the ability it gives me to connect with the present moment - to look around and study the light and beauty of this life, instead of focusing on fixing the mistakes I saw on the digital LCD screen. I can connect with my subjects in a way I found difficult before. That's not to say I'm ditching the digital camera, I love both equally and feel compelled to shoot both. Nor am I advocating that these lessons can only be learned with a purchase of a film camera. It just seems to be how it is unfolding for me.
I truly feel sorry for my father, who missed most of my childhood. Parenthood is a gift I don't want to squander away on my phone or worrying about trivial and meaningless things. I am fully embracing the slow pace of my journey into film as it reflects the season of life that I am grateful to be in. Less worry, more fun! With my computer tucked away in the office, the phone up in the kitchen cabinet, and our current lack of a functioning TV, I try my very best to focus on savoring time with my family. These days won't last for long and soon I'll be left with more than enough time to improve my photography skills. In the meantime, I'll remember to capture some more everyday snap shots like the image above. In my eyes, that picture is more than perfect because it was taken from a place of love and adoration. And I suspect my children will one day feel the same.
A very special thank you to my dear aunt for scanning and sending it to me out of the blue. What a beautiful gift!