I am one of those people who always has a camera with him. Some of my friends, who are not photographers, make fun of me. They wonder if I am like Linus from the Peanuts, who is always carrying his security blanket, except I am holding onto a camera. They probably are not too off the mark with that observation.
I am the person that does not merely want to make photographs, I need to make photographs. There is an impulse that drives me to get out and see what I can find that. If I go for a couple of days without making photographs, I get buggy. I acknowledge that sometimes it verges on the edge of obsession as my wife will readily testify, but there are far worse things to be addicted to.
My preoccupation with making photographs is not about just absently pressing the shutter release button and taking a photograph. Rather, it is a desire to actively see and to be surprised by what I discover. I feel a rush when I am walking down the street and I suddenly recognize the potential of subject or scene to produce a wonderful photograph. There is a rush of adrenaline, which is both the excitement of discovery and the question of whether I can live up to the potential of that moment and produce a good photograph.
Whether I am out to specifically produce photographs or I am just running errands, those moments make time stop. When I see a play of light and shadow, line and shape, color and gesture, I am seeing in a way that I know that most people around me are not. I am thrilled at the fact that at that moment I am the only one who sees it and I want to document what everyone else is missing within the frame.
But for me, the choice to always have a camera with me and to make photographs every day is a way of pushing myself. I want to see things and photograph them in a way that I would not have the day, the month or the year before. I want to push past the boundaries of my own seeing and not simply be satisfied with making a "good" photograph. Though it often leads me to never being completely satisfied with what I produce, I am often heartened when I discover moments that I know I would have passed up just a short time before.
This daily practice is invaluable to me, even if I only dedicate 15 minutes of my day to it. For me, it is not the amount of time, but how I use the time that is afforded to me to see and photograph. In this past year alone, I have felt a demonstrable shift in my photography which is largely attributable to this daily practice. Though I have yet a finger to what is happening in the work, I can nevertheless feel that I am making progress in some new and exciting ways. That would not be happening if I was just the occasional weekend shooter.
When I cull my images at the end of the year, I will hopefully have a greater sense of what I have been doing in 2018. And hopefully, I will have the insight into how I am evolving as a photographer, but for now, all that is important is that I get out and keep shooting.