I’ve been taking pictures, on and off, since High School. I bought my first film camera, an Olympus, when I was 16. My first digital camera was a Finepix, which I purchased in college, and in 2006 I invested in my first DSLR, a Canon XTi. I use it mostly to photograph birds, but I have recently started taking portraits and landscape.
It has taken me some time to decide how to approach the subject of photography in a blog. Part of my trouble lies in the fact that photography is mostly a hobby for me. I consider myself more of a poet than a photographer. I studied English as an undergraduate and I am currently finishing a master’s in poetry. Photography is what I do when I am not writing poems. I take pictures at my own pace, on my own time and with my own sense of composition.
Over this past year, however, I have begun to realize that poetry and photography share a similar language. Ezra Pound, for example, wrote “It is better to present one Image in a lifetime than to produce voluminous works.” Without knowing he was a poet, his statement might lead one to believe he was a photographer.
Poetry and photography also share a similar purpose. The poet Randall Jarrell wrote that we must read poetry “with an attitude that is a mixture of sharp intelligence and of willing emotional empathy.” That is also true for the photographer. Photography is a selfish act: we don’t create pictures, we take them. And so the photographer must approach his or her subject with a greater sense of empathy, a more generous respect and gratitude.
In the end I decided I couldn’t write about photography without also writing about poetry. What attracts me to photography is the same thing that attracts me to poetry: a depth of imagination, a love of the image, and the desire to probe deeper into the lives that surround me. I do this not by hiding away at a desk in the dark, but by going out into the world with my camera and my pen.