This is me at the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Kennebunkport, Maine in the Summer of 2020. My annual summer visits to Maine have been a family tradition since I was baby, and for generations before, but this summer was much anticipated with just my daughter and I. With me is my camera which has accompanied me on so many adventures; adventures which I have been happy to share, and honored to be shared with even greater audiences in exhibition and digital print. Unfortunately, circumstances as they be, I sold my camera because, honestly, I had reached a point where I had photographed as much as what I had wanted and could, thought of upgrading, but I also felt myself in a pinch and needed the money. So the circumstances and emotions by which I sold my camera were happy and hopeful but also humbling and sad. But I learned a few “life lessons” along the way …
Taking my camera with me, I had always been, even subconsciously, in search of capturing the moment. This is, ultimately, what photography does, capturing the moment to put the viewer in the moment. In the last scene of the series finale of Six Feet Under, Nate tells Claire, “You can’t take a picture of this, it’s already gone.” Now going about my adventures on the trails and on the city streets without my camera has given me a new appreciation for being still, and being in the moment and experiencing the cityscape, the droplets of water beading on the flower pedals, the monarch butterfly gorging on pollen. I hope that when my new camera comes my way that this new appreciation for the moment will make me a better and more mindful photographer.
As I’ve been learning to live on a graduate student budget, I found myself in a financial pinch in between terms and I parted with an “toy” that I was no longer using. You could say that as an artist that this was my medium and, therefore, my instrument. While I have enjoyed certain artistic success, I do not identify as a professional photographer only as a talented enthusiast with some professional accolades. I am an academic and an educator. I sold my camera to help me along financially as invested in my future as such. How far are you willing to go to achieve your goals? In this moment, I choose a future-oriented internal investment in myself rather than holding onto a past, or the present, with an external expression.
Around this time, my daughter was planning her sixteenth birthday party. She was concerned how many people and who would show up, and who would not show up. I told her, “the people who show up for you, these are your people.” It was an oversimplification because wants to be around a party, but someone close to me mocked my decision for selling my camera. Not everyone will understand you, and this is OK, because they are not your people.
Here’s one of the last photographs I had taken with my camera at Lake Willoughby, Vermont shared on Instagram by the official Vermont account for onlyinyourstate.com with over 500 likes: