I find a moment. My finger searches for the shutter release. My stomach flutters. My breath softens, I try not to shake. Something is happening that will never happen again. Ever. I need to get it. I need to get an image.
I suppose photography is an obsession. The feeling of discovery and excitement when something worth photographing appears before my eyes is almost pure ecstasy. I'm not sure I can even explain it. It's just there. And if my camera is not with me when it is, my heart sinks to despair.
It took me years to get to this point. I was so burned out from commercial photography that I didn't carry my camera with me for years. All those moments that came and left...I think I was unconscious. There are times in one's life, I believe, where priorities are misplaced. It usually has something to do with self-absorption. In my case, it certainly did.
Maybe when we are young we figure the moments will come and come and come some more. There is no end. But, the creeping awareness of mortality has its gifts. One of them is a growing sense of now—and the keen awareness that a lifetime is finite. One returns to passions and the passions burn more brightly.
The camera to my eye, I watch the street as elements converge. "The Decisive Moment," I hear Cartier-Bresson whisper in my brain. Here it comes. Feel it, get it. Sometimes I miss it by a millisecond. "Damn!" I whisper. Other times I miss it by a mile. But, every so often I feel it, anticipate it, get it. I know it instantly and thank my artistic ancestors for their wisdom and inspiration. My step is lighter. I know that, for a moment, I lived my life exactly the way it was meant to be.
Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again. – Henri Cartier-Bresson