It’s a moment that passes in the blink of an eye, one click of a button, but what else is going on in the taking of a photograph?

Perhaps some mix like this.



Getting lost in the detail of pattern, texture, colour.

Remembrance: other seasons, other times of noticing this flower.

The chance to be still, to be outside, to breathe more deeply.



Acceptance: your photo can never hope to match it.

Commitment: again and again, out there, noticing.

The feeling of the earth: damp, warm, scratching, stinging, magnetic, supportive.




It’s a moment that passes in the blink of an eye, yet all that before it, within it, and taking you out there again and again and again.





(Prompted by Kim Manley Ort, musing on photography as a cause of health.)

8 Replies to “Behind A Photograph

  1. So thoughtful and beautiful Joanna. I have enjoyed reading and thinking about this post and the one of Kim’s that prompted it.

    • Thank you Jane, I know you are a very thoughtful witness and photographer – I love how we can share ideas and reflections together like this.

  2. Such a beautiful description. I often struggle to put into words what moves me to make photographs, but it really is exactly this. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Hello Jen, and thank you so much for writing. I have been fascinated too, for a long time, by the search for the words for what goes on when we take photographs. I’m glad this resonated with you. I guess it’s not something we ever do entirely find the words for, but perhaps our photographs tell some of the story anyway.

  3. Does it count when it’s a desire to share one or all of the above? This is often the case with my photos, the reason I pick up the camera rather than just savour or write about the moment.

    • It’s an interesting question Janice. The desire to share what we see is very natural and human – we do it as children, tugging at the sleeves of our elders, saying ‘look! look!’. It is a strong driver for me, and I often think of you all / individual people when I’m walking and taking photographs, and the wish to connect or respond to them informs the photograph, definitely.

      I am aware in myself though that if the wish to share becomes too strong it can get in the way of the moment of noticing, of simply watching flower, texture, pattern, movement, light, as it is, in itself. For me, I think (it is a long, slow process of understanding) that the prime motive (for me) is to try and honour what I see, what I have been blessed with seeing, to be true, and loving, and respectful in return.

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