I was browsing through my collection of digital photographs that I have taken through the years (probably being distracted from some other thing that I should've been doing), most taken on travels, but some are of everyday life. And I noticed something.
My photographs show rather clearly that when I hold a camera, one of three personas becomes dominate: the Chronicler, the Artist, or the Observer.
The Chronicler: As a child, my sister was the family photographer because she was the only one willing to walk around with the beast of the thing that were cameras back then. But I also think psychology inserts itself here too because (I believe) she knew the value of that treasure - having tangible memories of time past. She acted (and still carries forth) like a middle child, although there are only the two of us. She's the peacemaker, the stable soul seeking stability. Now, I was the younger sister and played that role as best I could, causing grief to her daily. But I've always been fiercely loyal & protective of her too. As a pre-teen & beyond, I imagined that if she ever found herself in a fight (which of course is preposterous being a peacemaker) or was ever bullied in any fashion, that I would utterly destroy the perpetrator; she is, after all, my sister to mess with and make cry (sorry Kelli) and nobody else's.
All this to say, that I was not born chronicling, but have stumbled into it with perceived necessity. I've written before about memory and my amazing lack of it, so having a visual story-line that I can refer to as a manual recall of memories has become of great value to me.
(Summer studio 2007; Noragachi, Chihuahua, Mexico; process to make adobe block)
The Artist: these are the pictures that I most love to take. Some, without labels, I can't even identify what or where in context. My favorite topics: repetition, shadow & light, detail mechanisms or textures, and human interaction (though I have the guts to take far less of people because I don't want to intrude on someone else's moment).
The Observer: this is when I realize I have nothing to show for an event/occurrence/situation. I simply forgot I had a camera, maybe took a shot or two then simply observed in real time with both eyes. When I let the observer in me take over, I know I catch far more beauty in my mind's eye, and must then rely on some stray thought to recall them back from my disastrous filing system of my long term memory (or on someone else's pics).
However, if someone else has a camera, mine may never see the light of day. Maybe I'm an observer first and foremost, down to the bone, but I let the other me's come out and play.