Thursday, August 13, 2009

Do you see in macro?

A favorite blogger wrote this thread where she mentioned wondering if posting macro shots was honest or not. (In her opinion, it is.)

It made me think about the direction my own photos have taken as my blogging has progressed. Are my photographs that I show you predominantly macro, and if they are, is that necessarily a bad thing?

After looking back through several posts, I do think that my photographs lean toward the macro, but I don't think it is necessarily a bad thing. I have thought a lot about this in the last week since this blog is a journal of sorts of my parenting and homeschooling journey and I want it to be honest.

So when Ains was going through a chubby toddler phase and I couldn't stop taking pictures of her little hands building things but zoomed in just on those hands, was I "prettying things up"? I didn't consciously crop out the toy mess around her when she was playing with the blocks, I just aimed the camera at what I saw - what was important to me.

I had not realized until I thought about it over the last week, that over the past year, as my blogging focus has narrowed (I started this blog, not as a family blog, but as a journal of our journey - my family blog died a slow, lingering death once I started this one), my lens has narrowed also. I've allowed myself to tune out that mess for a bit and focus on my children playing. To zoom in on an especially ridiculous part of a dress-up outfit. To find, and highlight, the little bits of magic in our lives (the little bits that could easily be drowned in 'other'). I'll focus on the other later - on Snapshot Sunday, maybe.

But I haven't 'lost my focus' completely. Looking at snapshots that I took at the fair yesterday showed a nice blend of normal wide shots and macro shots.

While looking at these pictures, I noticed that I was trying to capture on film the details that had captured my eye when looking around. Some details *were* small, like the handle of that toy gun.

Some were bigger, like a girl blowing bubbles on her little sister's neck. Still, I left out the 'clutter' around her that I still remember - her dad telling her to be careful with the baby in the stands and then getting distracted by his sons walking along the backs of the benches. That wasn't important to me.

These cowboy boots and the little girl that wore them were adorable - I took one picture with her looking toward me and it didn't have the same feel to it. I didn't include the five adults gathered around her talking - her small body and the tiny boots drowned in that much action.

I didn't include the boys that this kid was obviously talking to (and roping, by the way). It's not a well set up shot, but it captures the essence of little cowboys.

As did this one. Three-year old cowboys are too cute for words, but between this picture and another full body shot I took of him, this one had the most punch.

And then there was this shot. I had several shots on my camera of macro views of this scenario, but this one, the shot that originally caught my eye, is what I kept. I didn't see the hose or the halter or the boy's boots when I first looked at this. I saw what you see here, and that's what I wanted to keep, to blog about.

So I guess what I'm saying is that I hadn't realized that I do this, that I have nurtured looking for beauty in my life to the point that it's not just the way I aim my lens anymore. It's the way I look at the world, so it's what you get when I share my world with you. Sometimes wide-angle, mostly (it seems to me) macro.

And I'd really like to know - especially if you're a lurker - do you like seeing shots like that? Do they feel honest or dishonest to you? Do they make you want to look for the beauty in your own life more? (One of my favorite blogs whose title, Ordinary Life Magic, says it all, was one of my inspirations for narrowing my focus.) How do you take shots for your own blogging goodness and memory keeping?

I'd really like to know. Because it's such an interesting idea - that your camera is not just there to take a group picture at a family get-together and record a basic memory, though those are priceless, or to take hundreds of carefully set-up wedding portraits (not that I'm bitter) but to record what the photographer is seeing, maybe even what they're feeling, definitely what's important to them, and what they want to share with those who might care.


Kim said...

My favorite thing about most blogs is looking at the pictures, macro or not, both tell a story. I like to imagine what the photographer was trying to capture and often wonder if what I see is the same as what others see in the same picture. You said it best when you said: "To find, and highlight, the little bits of magic in our lives", that's what I try to do on my blog!

Sherry said...

Hmmm...interesting. I use macro A LOT. Now that you've got me thinking about the reason why, here it is: I can ignore the dirty dishes piled in the sink. If Gerrick is doing some activity at the island, THAT is what I want to capture for posterity, THAT is what I want to remember--not the fact that my sink is overflowing, so I automatically position myself so that it doesn't show up in the shot. I don't do it to make myself look better to blog readers; I do it because I feel like that is basic good photography--to keep your subject the focus and not let your frame be cluttered.

Phyllis said...

I absolutely agree with you. I, too, focus my shots on the feeling and essence of the moment, not just a shot of "what is happening." It is the essence that is important, not "just the facts, mame." I, too, have been touched by the truth of OLM, and have changed my blog style from the diary to the appreciation and exhaultation of the moments of beauty in our lives. Thanks for sharing your moments and your thoughts.

Stephanie said...

An interesting point.
I've honestly never considered that they're false or misleading!
And won't now, for that matter.
You can take a picture of a city from above, and not capture the love and beauty and moments and art and truths that are going on in the details.
The magic is in the details, for me.
I can take a picture of my backyard, but it's only when I get close and feel and touch and Be with things that the small beauties are appreciated.

So I don't feel like it's lying at all, I feel like it's looking for the magic in things that might otherwise be ignored or not recognized.
What could possibly be wrong with that?

Cindy said...

Well, I just like pictures. Macro or not. In fact, I think several of your pictures: the mom with her baby, the cowboy with his rope, and the little girl's cowboy boot, could all be on a magazine cover. It's catching a moment in time that is not posed that I just love!

Monica said...

I love looking at your blog, and it's because the images that you pick and the words you use to tell a story are just so dang perfect! I think of your choice of frame from a point-of-view perspective, from first person or third or omniscient. And thinking of it that way, what could be more honest than using the voice you've chosen for that particular story?

Sarah said...

Thank you for your comments everyone! It's nice to hear that others view the pictures I put up in the spirit I put them up in. That's reassuring.

Cindy, I'm with you on liking pictures. I read very few blogs that don't post lots of pictures.

Monica, thank you for the sweet comment. You made me smile.

Hope said...

As a photographer I just naturally focus on the "meat" of the picture. All of the photography classes I've taken and books I've read teach this, I've always done it naturally anyway. If you want a picture to tell a story then you must decide what story to tell. If you are writing about what the kids do (which I do most of the time) then you don't write about the mess or the dirty dishes. Pictures are just another way of telling the story so I don't think there is any need to include ALL the messy details for it to be an honest story.