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  • Finding Happiness in Your Own Backyard

    Image: Bluebird of Happiness on the Mesa

    The photographer Ernst Haas said "I am not interested in shooting new things – I am interested to see things new.” I would love to know where Ernst Haas actually was when he said that, and in what context, but sadly I haven't been able to find the original source (if anyone out there does find it, please let me know!). 

    I think one thing Ernst Haas may have meant was this: when we as photographers go out to make images, camera slung over our shoulders, around our necks, or tucked into our pockets - or sometimes all three - it really doesn't matter WHERE we go.

    What matters is how we use our hearts and our brains to see what is there where we are. You don't have to go to the heights of the Himalayas to make a good image. You can walk out your back door and see the sun shining on a dew drop of a daffodil and see something no one else has ever seen before. 

    We're often enticed by glossy travel brochures of exotic locales; I know that I am. If you stop for a moment and reflect, you're already living in a locale that is exotic to someone else. But when you see it day after day, your brain starts to record it as mundane. The challenge lies in seeing your personal mundane anew.

    Allow me to segue from Ernst Haas to Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. At the end of her grand adventure, she clicks the heels of her ruby red shoes together three times, saying "There's no place like home." When she does this, the magic happens, and she sees her home anew.

    Perhaps all cameras should come with a pair of ruby red shoes, so we can click our heels together and say "There's no place like home" before we make our next image.