My camera has become my steady companion on this overseas adventure. As I travel through the streets of London, over its bridges and throughout its neighborhoods, I find myself looking for the perfect shot, for the little overlooked detail that no one else sees, for an image that can tell a thousand stories.
Though it is commonly said that photographers fall into a trap of always looking through their viewfinder and never truly experiencing the world around them, I have found that I experience the world more profoundly because I am looking for that fabled perfect shot. Because I am looking for that shot, every single moment becomes an opportunity. Every moment has so many details that could tell a story. As I look for the angle, I draw in all the details a person meandering through would miss. I see the whimsical clouds, the ornate architectural details, the characters in the teeming masses because I am looking for them.
Once I find a subject that calls to be captured, I can form a lasting connection to it, find its story. A building most of us walk by every single day may at first be just another old building. Upon closer examination, it yields an amazing history. Wedged in between two more modern pieces of architecture, this old, ornate apartment building has lasted through the centuries. Countless people have walked in front of its doors; the carved gargoyles have seen the city grow and change and adapt. These stories are everywhere, ready for someone to walk by and simply look.
My pictures, to me, form a journal richer than anything I am able to compose with mere words. There are so many nuances, so many precious details, so many indescribable feelings that my words fail to capture, or fail to succinctly describe. I cannot ever describe in words the feelings that rushed through me when I first saw the majesty of Westminster, but my photographs of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament show the sense of awe and history that first perfect sighting evoked. I chose my angle, my focus, the composition to try to express the multitude of emotions seeing the historic building brought to me. I tried to capture everything I was feeling and seeing with the click of a shutter.
Because that is what it is really about, after all. Capturing a memory. This is, to me, the real virtue of living through the lens of my camera. My memories, which would otherwise fade with the passing of time, can be brought crisply back into focus by a well-shot photograph. That singular moment in time, that portion of a second which will never occur again, becomes instantly preserved with a single click. Every last detail that would escape the prose of even the greatest writer is captured and displayed. My photographs will not grow cloudy with age, they will not distort, nor disappear. They will exist as a permanent record, ready to transport anyone to the moment I pressed the shutter button.
This is why photographs become treasures, artifacts, heirlooms. They have power. They literally stop time, saving a sliver of the past for future generations. They can tell a story, evoke emotions without using a single word. No words are needed with the proper photograph; with some photographs, words even seem superfluous. When proper care is taken, a photograph becomes a gateway to world that will never exist again.
A photograph, to me, is so much more than a simple image or casual snapshot. It is literally memories made tangible and incorruptible. So while some criticize my approach to the adventure, I find living behind a lens forces me to take a closer look at the world around me. I do not lose out on the sights, the food, the stories. I capture them to share and preserve them. Already in this journey, I find myself looking back at some of the pictures I have taken. Though some of the details of my memories have already faded due to all the new things we are seeing, the photographs I have taken bring me right back. And years down the road, when they sit encased in an album on my shelf, I will be able to flip through them and instantly be brought back to this city, this amazing adventure. And that, to me, is worth taking the time to take the shot.