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 photography 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 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 pain behind the neat imaged, overly-edited photo. Love submits and resubmits and resubmits 12 times over in hopes of finding a better way to express the inexpressible. Love keeps reloading our camera bag, heading us out on yet another face to face encounter with life. As for all you like me who are “wedged in the middle”, I look forward to seeing what you’ll offer us next! In the meanwhile, love beckons. I’m going shooting.