Guest Post: Don’t Miss the Story – by Rob Jones

Hi gang. First of all I’d like to thank Jason for giving me the opportunity to take the helm of such a great blog. As a fellow blogger, the quality and consistency of posts coming from this web address is something to be admired. Jason keep up the great work.

To be honest, when Jason first approached me with the request to guest blog, I had every intention to use the opportunity to put together some funny, two-bit post on photographers and all their quirks. As you know, we’re a different breed of people and I’ve found we all enjoy poking fun at ourselves and others like us. However, that blog entry is going to have to wait for a future post, because the events of the last few days have shifted the attitude and emotion I have to bring to the virtual table. Thanks in advance for understanding.

As I type this, my great-grandfather, George, is slowly closing the final chapter of his life. He’s been fighting cancer for some time and this ninety-three year old man has decided that he’s put up a good fight, but that it’s his time to rest. Rose (my wife) and I visited him today, gave him hugs and kisses as he slept in a deep, peaceful sleep, and said our final thoughts and good-byes. In my time with him, I thanked him for the role he played in my very existence, and for sticking around long enough to hug all four of his great, great granddaughters – something I still smile about every time I think of it. And yes, I do have a photograph with five generations in it!

As photographers, the passion for our art comes from capturing the story of life and sharing emotions with others through our work. Well, the emotion of this whole situation has had me reflecting and I’ve been trying to find a way to share what I’ve been feeling with all of you – some tidbit about photography, philosophy and life. The inspiration came from my beloved wife, as she helped me sort things out in my head (as she often does), and here’s what we came up with…

Take enough photos to tell the story, but not so many that you miss the story.

We’re privileged  to have technology available which allows us to capture important moments in life with ease and precision. When my great-grandfather was born in the early twentieth century, this concept was novel and mostly out of reach. We can capture images of a person’s journey through life by simply pushing a button – a truly amazing concept which we take for granted every day. However, this convenience can come at a cost.

Every time we put our eye up to the viewfinder, we have an opportunity to capture a moment. However, when the camera comes up, as photographers, we ever-so-slightly disconnect from the scene around us. By the nature and mechanics of the device, at the time the shutter releases, it is “us” and “them”. It is worthwhile to take a moment to highlight the importance of balancing these two concepts.

We’ve all been to a rock concert, a birthday party, a dance recital, etc. etc. where a crowd of folks line up behind their cameras and camcorders shooting away, ad nauseam, trying to capture every second to preserve for posterity. It’s easy to get lost in that and wind up having to watch the video or look through your snapshots in order to live the experience. I know I’ve been guilty of this on a regular basis. Instead I propose that we occasionally remember to put down the camera and blow out the candles with our kids, dance to our favorite song, and hold our breath during the big solo – in other words, live every bit of the moment without restriction. It’s healthy, and necessary, if we are to fully appreciate the emotions we so desperately want to capture.

With that in mind, enjoy telling your story while practicing your art, but remember that living the story is what makes it yours.

Rob Jones runs Towner Jones Photography, LLC, along with his wife Rose, offering a variety of event, portrait, fine art, and commercial photography. With Jason, Rob is co-founder of the TJM Media Group, a partnership whose goal is to provide high quality Photoshop & Photography education to empower fellow photographers to unleash their creative potential.

  • Good reminder Rob. I’ve become so involved (frustrated) trying to solve conflicts between my vision and limitations that I’ve missed a lot of magic moments with my boy’s. I learned that putting the camera down so I can actually be there creates a lot better memories than brilliantly documenting my family having fun without me.

    April 6, 2010 at 11:19 am

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