Taking photos with the body

Taking photos depends on moving, exploring, changing the perspective. Approaching possible photo compositions and subjects from different angles. Dancing around them to find a good composition. Waiting for the good moment. It’s physical.

Foggy morning in the Belgian countryside / April 2021

I used to favor zoom lenses. It was convenient to be able to zoom in and frame from a distance. But my way of approaching scenes and subjects has changed. I’m more interested in what can be captured using my feet, my hands and my whole body. I rarely feel like changing the focal length.

This has little to do with the technical advantages of prime lenses. It’s more about the physical experience of taking a photograph and the way I position myself in relation to the subject.

Novice archers used to learn that the bow and arrow were an extension of their body. Great archers were perfecting the art of being one with their bow. Likewise, the camera is an extension of the body. The body is the one having the experience worth capturing. It is also the one positioning itself in time and space to take that shot.

When I say body, I mean the whole living, feeling, and thinking organism.

Using the camera as an extension of a living body changes the experience of taking photos. It’s a subtle change. It has to do with taking responsibility, being present, putting in the effort.

It has to do with accepting ourselves in our own body and accepting the results of our effort as they are.

  1. Beautiful landscape. Although I understand what you are saying, I have changed my mind with regards to zoom lenses, I now love the possibility of using them without having to compromise the final product. And still, there’s a lot of body work to be done. Getting very close to distort a wide angle, then far to isolate something with a telephoto…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Alessandra! I think we don’t disagree here. I did not make an exclusive choice between zoom and prime lenses. It’s more of a change of approach in how I use them to find and frame my shots. Even when I use a zoom lens.

      Liked by 1 person

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