I consider these three quotes each time I pick up a camera.
"The question is not what are you looking at, but what do you see?" - Henry David Thoreau
I have always firmly believed that anyone can pick up a camera and take a photograph, that it is not that hard. What separates a photographer from everyone else is that they can pick up the same camera, and rather than just capture an image, they capture a feeling, a movement, a memory that not even the greatest story teller could recreate.
"Take a journal wherever you go and write what you see; you'll thank yourself later" - Jesse David Chiero (The Most Interesting Man In The World)
To me, this quote need not be taken literally. It's true, you'll want to look back in 10 or 20 years and remember what you saw, but I am lucky enough to have a camera creating my parchment, and to capture light for my ink. Every shot I take is exactly the way I remember it, and it eludes to so much than just a picture of something. It's a moment, that for all eternity will never happen again. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the emotions... they all exist, and it's up to me to write them perfectly.
"Push your values" - Mrs. Crawford (my high school art teacher)
When I think this, I think about wanting to get everything I can out of a photograph. I want the viewer to feel like that can reach out and feel the depth, textures, dimensions and shapes. I don't want to ever stop giving my absolute best. I also think, in a not so literal sense, that I must strive to push my personal values each time I shoot. I don't settle, I don't struggle to go the extra mile to get one more shot. This shot may not always be perfect, but with it I have earned another memory and the experience it brings. I believe you shouldn't develop a habit of giving up, because you risk missing that perfect shot that is worth every ounce of struggle along the way; and that, my friend, has nothing to do with photography, and everything to do with living.
I am Michael Anthony Dennis. Thank you for viewing.