2017: Another year for a great photographic experience

At the start of 2016, to kill time on a flight home from Holland, I listed down all the things that mattered to me and that I wanted to focus more on. I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, but I do believe in developing oneself and in making new habits.

It wasn’t a long list, I kept it concise and achievable. I tweaked the list a few times throughout the year but, as we’re coming to the close of 2016, I am quite satisfied with the good habits I made and the bad habits I managed to control.

There is, however, an area I’m still struggling with: making more time for photography.

This year was one in which I developed rapidly, both in my career and as a person. It was a year where I stepped out of my comfort zone repeatedly, where I ventured into places I didn’t know, and where I came out stronger and more experienced.

With a lot happening in your life, sacrifices need to be made from time to time, to be able to master something. I sold my guitar, for example – one of the most heartbreaking moments – because I knew I didn’t have time to practice it was not as big a priority as the other commitments I wanted to focus on.

Photography was not something I wanted to compromise.

So what happened?

2016 Was a year where I worked extremely hard at my job, which I thoroughly enjoy. As a result, when I’d get home I would want to unwind. Spending the little free time I had at home in front of a screen for more hours to edit pictures, as much as I also enjoyed that, was extra. I travelled a lot this year and took my camera with me, I captured some great moments and scenes, but they’re still on my memory cards waiting to be processed. There’s nothing more frustrating than knowing you have countless images you’d like to share with your family, friends and followers, but you don’t have time or energy to work on them.

Which brought me to a new habit (I’m smiling as I write this).

About a month ago I went to London with one of my favourite travel companions. Annoyed that I still had hundreds of images to go through from my trip with her in Vietnam, I didn’t even bother taking my camera with me. Countless times there were scenes and details I wanted to capture but didn’t have my usual tool to capture them with – so many lost opportunities!

Until one day, while walking through Regent Street, the sky was painted with stunning red hues and the street was lit with beautiful Christmas lights. I grabbed my phone and I captured it. I didn’t capture an image I could print in high resolution, the quality wasn’t anywhere close to what I could get with my camera, there were only so many manual settings, and the lens was not wide enough, but I still captured a moment. I still shared it. I still got a reaction.

That, ultimately, is what I always loved about photography and that is what truly matters.

The more experienced and professional you get in an art, the more of a perfectionist you become in your work. If it’s not sharp enough, if there’s too much noise, etc., the picture is not good. Becoming more technical helps you express something in the best way possible, but it can sometimes block your creativity. At least, that’s what happened to me. I would plan my shots in advance, I would make sure I had all the right equipment, I would even practice before a shoot…

What I forgot was that photography is ultimately a means of expressing something, and that even with the poorest of tools you could do that. The quality of a shot is not meant to be measured by the resolution of the image, it should be measured by the feeling it evokes.

Art is meant to move you.

You don’t look at a painting and think ‘why, what great oils he used and what a good paint brush’; you admire the representation of a moment, a scene, a message.

In 2017 I plan to make a new habit: I will capture at least one image every day using whichever tool I have at hand. Photography, like any other art, is a creative process and requires constant nurturing.

With that said, I’m sharing some of my favourite processed snaps which I’ve captured mostly with my phone this year.

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Goggi-valletta Goggi-pancake

 

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