Documenting Stories · Everyday Stories

Learning from Julia…and a couple of photographers

I watched Julie & Julia last week with a group of my friends and left the theater feeling a bit inspired. 

When they are searching for “something to do”, for something to give them a sense of purpose, both Julie & Julia are asked by their husbands, “What do you like to do?” This is such a simple yet profound question.  On some level I think a number of us continually struggle to answer it. I think we should keep wrestling until we know, or at least have an idea to pursue and test the waters with.  It’s often said that if you love what you do it doesn’t really feel like work; all the more reason to find those things that inspire you and put energy into them.

There are a few things that cause me to light up and get my brain clicking with ideas and excitement.  These days one of the main things that has that impact is the idea of telling stories with photographs.  For a long time I’ve had ideas for photo books centered around various themes.  When brainstorming about these kinds of things with a friend, I started thinking of the possibility of traveling the world and finding people groups to photograph, telling the stories of those that may be forgotten.  That idea has been simmering in the back of my head for about a year now, occasionally fed with bits and pieces of related inspiration.

As you know from previous posts, I’ve taken the first step at acting on that by starting a small group focused on telling NCC stories.  But even when I started writing this post a week ago, I never dreamed I’d be finishing it with an even bigger leap off the pier.  Throughout the last few weeks I’ve amassed a large collection of various photography blogs in my RSS feed.  Many of them seemed to be sharing the challenge to not just sit on your dreams, but to DO something about them.  All very timely and in sync with Julia. 

In addition, I found out Monday that I have finally passed that magical 80,000 mile mark with US Air, the one that allows me to redeem the first class trans-Atlantic ticket that will mean one more checkmark on the life list. But what to do with that wondrous golden ticket? Here is where the photog blogs come into play once again. Later that same day, I found out that David du Chemin, the author of Within the Frame, is co-leading a photographic tour along the coastal section of the Italian Riviera between Genoa and Tuscany. 

That’s it. It clicks. 

I have been so inspired just through the initial pages of du Chemin’s book, that I saw the value of being able to learn from this self-proclaimed do-gooder photographer.  What he and the trip’s co-leader, Jeffrey Chapman, do as humanitarian photographers is a huge piece of what I want to do.  And with a little knudge from a series of posts by Zack Arias, encouragement from my friends, and a “why not?” from the Lord, I jumped in with both feet.

So, come April, I’ll be doing what I love to do: traveling the world, learning as much as I can about making great photographs, and hopefully capturing images that will tell a beautiful story.

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