“Try to never lose the gift of seeing the world through the eyes of a child.”
A teacher wrote these words of wisdom in my autograph book way back when I was in Grade 3. At the time I was puzzled and, like most kids, I was in a hurry to “grow up” and so found the words a tad annoying. But they stuck in my mind and nagged at me… what was he getting at?
Now, years and years later, I think I’m beginning to understand.
A child finds a WOW factor a hundred times a day. From a beetle on a petal to a puppy dog passing by – everything holds an element of enchantment and excitement. Only a child can sit (comfortably at that!) on his haunches for ages, watching the magic of a ladybug on a leaf. Only the eyes of a child see beauty and joy, sadness and terror, without filters and justifications.
Life in all its elemental rawness reaches him directly and feeds his soul. His laugh is clear and true, his tears unchecked and heart-wrenching. Just about everything touches him deeply and he can completely lose himself in the exact emotion of the moment.
For whatever reasons, we seem to lose this powerful connectivity with our worlds as we grow up. Sunsets signal supper time; bugs are annoying not astonishing; life becomes clogged with a series of rushed routines instead of being an endless playroom filled with delights and treasures. Those daily thrilling, complete WOW moments are few and far between – and quickly swept aside and forgotten in the dash to fill the car and remember the milk.
For years I’ve looked up with an exclamation of surprise and delight from seeing something I’ve found wondrous or smile-creating to stare into the bemused faces of the people around me. When I asked what was so amusing, they’d shake their heads, smile and say “nothing.”
Eventually I grabbed a friend or two and demanded an explanation. Imagine my shock and joy when the answer kept coming back along the lines of “You lose yourself in the moment – it’s like watching a child discover something and then sharing that pleasure. I so often look past what you see and it’s nice to be reminded of it again.”
It’s what Mr Baai wished for me – and it’s exactly that which I aim to do when I pick up my camera!
I want to capture each detail of the emotion and vibe and feeling of the moment. I want to capture that split second when that high voltage lighting bolt of life rips through a person so clearly that no mental guard or restraint can stop it.
I don’t want the pose: I want the Feeling and the Energy! And then I want to share it, so that others can touch that intense core again, even if just for a second.
For me, photography is not just about the picture. It’s not just about the technical details of apertures, lighting and shutter speeds. It’s about capturing WOW. It’s about getting the moment and the emotion. It’s about being able to share it and come back to it whenever you need or want to.
Part advice, part wish, with my photographs I’d like to share the gift my teacher gave me so long ago, with you. I’d love to chat to you so contact me to set this in motion.