Still Life

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A moment of silence at the end of my street in Costa Rica.

I am by no means a professional photographer. Sure, I have some idea of the basics when it comes to composing a quality shot, but for the most part my portfolio consists of a couple lucky shots taken while on vacation. A big part of composing a quality photo has to do with the subject—you can always pick out a professional because they know how to manipulate lighting and positioning to make even the most mundane subjects stand out. But for the amateurs like me, sometimes our best photos are more because of the location.

On a recent trip to Costa Rica, I was overcome with inspiration—by just stepping outside of my hotel room I would catch these moments of pure beauty, and would do my best to capture it in a shot. Some moments would slip by—the country is known for its wildlife, so many of my photos cover the blurry movement of a money or the tail of an iguana before it slips back into its hiding place. But, on occasion, I managed to capture a truly one-of-a-kind shot that I wanted to show off.

The rise of social media, specifically photo sharing, has become quite the phenomenon in recent years—our selfies have become a means of placing us in the moment and sharing our joyous occasions with others. For some, seeing photo after photo of an occasion may become a nuisance, but for me, I welcome these pictures. I love seeing people share pictures from their vacations, snapshots of a family event, or even just a funny moment they had on an afternoon walk. The camera was invented to supplement our memories—it gives us the ability to preserve moments in our lives, good and bad, and we should share that with others.

I’ve always loved snapping pictures. Behind each picture there is always a story. To this day, I still take pride in a shot I took on a hiking trail in Italy. For the unknowing viewer, it’s just a sign pointing to a cliffside town. But to me, the photo is a memory of an incredible weekend, where I broke from my comfort zone for the first time and fell in love with that small village on the coast.

Candid shots are another favorite for me. Sure, posing for photos is great, but to capture humans in their most comfortable state, when they are truly happy, or contemplative, or scared, those are the moments that can tell so much of the story without saying a word.

That’s why I try to capture the still moments, the moments that spark memories, that remind us of the life we’ve already lived. My photos may not be award winning, but for me, they are worth more than any souvenir I’ve paid for. They are the physical proof of a life well lived, and as I grow older, I appreciate the reminder of those little moments when I was quick enough to pull my camera out and snap a photo.