For Christmas this year, my brother gave me his old camera: a Nikon D80 DSLR. Capture beautiful things, he told me.
Matt and my dad are amazing photographers. They have the eye, the creative mind, the skill and the perspective to freeze some of life’s happiest, incredible, drop-your-jaw-and-forget-to-breathe moments.
I went out with my brother the other day, and followed him as he took pictures. I walked behind him through the quiet hills of Allegheny, tried to keep my fingers warm as the snow fell gently around us, stood in his exact pose and pointed my lens at the same things.
Matt has always been a capturer of beauty, I realized as we walked, as he pointed out to me the green of the moss and the layers of rock beneath the small stream. “There’s no way your shot will be as good as mine,” he said at one point, grinning cheekily, and I saw him then in layers—as a four year old, fourteen, twenty-four, and I remembered that I have loved him—all his years on top of each other—for a very long time, and I already love everything he will become.
I like two of the sixty eight photos I took that day. Photography, I’m learning, is like writing, music, architecture, design and painting, in that like anything worth doing, it is full of failure and disappointment. It is full of the words no, wrong, try again, below par, until finally, you capture something that sounds like a maybe. It is sitting down in front of your work after a long day and thinking, that is not at all what I meant to say. Then it is taking note of the failure, thinking about ways to fix it, rolling up your sleeves, and trying again in the morning.