We are amateurs. At the root of amateur is ama, the Latin word for love. An amateur is someone who does what they do “for the love of it”. Love is at the root of all amateurism, whether in sports, parenting or photography. At the heart of most of what we do daily is an ordinary, everyday, aw-shucks, no-nonsense love for what we do.
Good feelings come and go. How many of us get excited as we load up onto our PC what we think is our best photo ever taken. The following day, we look again and a little voice keeps repeating, “You’re no good, you’re no good, you’re no good, baby you’re no good.” Just keep repeating that fateful mantra until you slowly kill off love, your love for beauty, for excellence and adventure, for every God-given inner longing for life. Or laugh out loud as you reload your memory card to head out on the next shoot. Life awaits. Love invites us out beyond ourselves, into the world around us, into the lives of others.
We all know it. There’s a place within our heart of hearts, a place where love bubbles up like a wellspring, waking us up way too early to go out in the cold predawn morning. We’re off once again, attempting to capture in our hearts, our mind’s eye or through our camera lens what is just out of our reach, the radiance and wonder of a new day dawning.
This same love puts technology into our hands, brings us home to upload our catch of the day to ooh and aah over the wonders we’ve seen, helps us develop the craft of photography, challenging us to read and reread the manuals, the technical books, the tutorials, in hopes of finding better ways of tapping the source through these clumsy external machines we use.
Love keeps little record of the score, looking beyond the statistics into the heart of life. Love sees the passion among the pixels. Love sees the truth behind the overly-edited photo. Love keeps submitting and resubmitting in hopes of finding a better way to express the inexpressible.
For us amateur photographers, love keeps reloading our camera bag, heading us out on yet another face to face encounter with life. Love beckons us to seek a face to face encounter with beauty as total amateurs who do what we do just for the love of it.