I finally decided to dump my Instagram account – which I haven’t actively used in a rather long while – and I got around to going through my Instagram images today, in prep for deleting the account. I wanted to make sure I had backups of anything I wanted to keep. And I’m glad I checked, because I didn’t have backups of everything – and there were definitely some images I wanted to save!
Particularly the stuff I took from about late-2013 through the first half of 2014. This was the time I was first getting seriously into photography – but it was before I’d gotten my better camera. So all I had to practice with was the camera on my phone (which is NOT GOOD!), and an old Sony point-and-shoot.
But it was really interesting today, looking back at what I was creating back then.
I think it was because I knew from the outset, with every shot back then, that I wasn’t going to end up with a high-quality image – so I was doing everything I could do to get the best possible images with what I had. Which meant that I looked really hard for shots and I was much more creative in my approach.
I in fact looked much harder and was much more creative than I have been in my photography since.
This really hit me today.
I mean, what I took back then wasn’t AMAZING or something. (You’ll see below.) But I can see the difference between the images I was making then and what I’ve shot since. There’s a different kind of depth.
I think my focus, once my camera improved, became more about the camera (learning it, then learning how to manage it on full Manual, etc.) Not that I didn’t care about my images, obviously – and I’ve talked often here about what an amazing tool for mindfulness photography is for me. So it’s not as if my approach as a photographer has been all detached and superficial.
But the difference, I think, is that I haven’t been hungry to make worthy images since I acquired the better camera. My aim hasn’t been to squeeze my camera for everything it can possibly give me – the way it was before. I’ve had a more practical focus, I guess.
And maybe that was necessary? I mean, I’ve learned a huge amount about photography in the last couple of years – and not in small measure through working with my camera, coming to understand its capabilities, working and troubleshooting for particular outcomes. So it’s not like it’s been wasted time.
Maybe I’m the only one who can see this in them (because, looking at these old images, I can remember what I was thinking and feeling back then – which maybe lends them a depth that nobody but me can feel?) But it seems to me that there’s just a – for lack of a better word – heart in these that I haven’t touched very often in my photography since.
And I want to get back to that place – that place of “heart.” I want to see what I can make if I do.
Here are a few of those old images: