"Art is about paying attention."

-Laurie Anderson

I love what I do.

Some mornings I wake up and think about how a year ago I decided to make my love for taking pictures to the next level, and as cliche as it is to say it-

I never looked back.

Through the many nights I stayed up devouring information and excitedly learning a new term or technique, boring my husband and kids with the details the next day, to the days I spent trying to find new things and people to practice on (willing family members and children of friends are always fair game) and all the way to where I am now: published in 4 national and local magazines and photographing the session of my dreams! (check out Bentley's Buds and Brews gallery, everything I love wrapped up in a gorgeous package)!

Through it all one thing has remained constantly clear to me about photography-

It is art.

There is a technical aspect to it- that would be your gear and knowledge of settings- and there is a subjective nature to it, and that is where the art lives. This is my favorite part about holding a camera in my hands. The knowledge that I can take it and find the beauty in a subject, a detail some may miss, a change in pattern or color that goes unnoticed until its captured on a 22.1 megapixel sensor in just the right light... That is what gives me a zap of adrenaline when I think about heading to a new session or hiking up a mountain to capture the view from the summit. I could sit for hours and dream of different ideas and sessions. Outfits that would be amazing, locations that match the clients personality or are just downright amazingly beautiful. All of it matters when you pick up the camera, all of it comes together in a perfect little rectangle that shows our love, our pain, our weaknesses and strengths. Our ability to laugh with one another or share a quiet moment. The way a big sister looks at the new baby in the house, or how a husband still looks at his wife with love after so many years (even though he thinks we could have done this a little closer to the house). How a couple cares for their son or daughter before they've even met them. The list goes on, and each time I get the first look at a session I say to myself "this one is my favorite" and each time I mean it.

I could go on and on about how much I love photography, but let me get to the question that spurned this run away train (thanks, Soul Asylum. Now that's stuck in my head)

Yesterday while showing off some of my published works to a friend (toot, toot), I was asked how much of photography was from the camera. It's a fair question. We live in a world where electronics are outdated before we've even received them from our favorite Amazon driver. How is a camera any different, right? Does the camera we use matter? Well I am here to tell you that the "camera to art" ratio is about 10% camera to 90% what you do with it. You could give me the best water color brushes, paints, and canvas and I still wouldn't be able to make it worthy of hanging on a wall. Believe me, I've tried! Photography is no different, the camera is the canvas, it's the brushes and the paint. It's knowing when to add light to a scene or squatting as low as you can over a mud puddle because that's the best angle. (Sometimes getting zapped by an electric fence because you forgot it was there and just needed a *touch* more distance for the frame...). So that 10% of a photograph that comes from the camera is just what the camera (and lens) is capable of producing. You can't force it to have a bigger sensor or faster shutter, but knowing its' limitations and working around them is just another stroke on the artists canvas. What it produces is up to the one holding it, choosing the lens and the settings, and clicking the button. And then there's the editing, but that's a topic for another post.

In a nutshell, photography is paying attention. Looking around, seeing things others may not, noticing details and capturing moments. And then using the knowledge and the technical parts of the camera to record what you see.

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