A Modern Love Affair

A new friend of mine, and a promising, young photographer, recently told me that, until meeting me, she never quite heard anyone speak of photography as a “love affair”. In her own words, her teachers taught a “classroom affair” to photography-dry, predictable, rote, without feeling.

I knew exactly what she meant.

I remember having these exact emotions, over four decades ago, when I began my career in photography and sat in the same classroom as her.

The “classroom” curriculum, as my friend describes it, is page after page, of buttons, menus, checklists, features, functions, shiny objects, screens, tables, formulas, etc.

While the “love-affair” curriculum is ardor, fervor, passion, soul, spirit, instinct, impulse, emotion.

We have a short supply of the latter.

In defense of photography teachers, technical learning, has to be first and foremost.

For it’s the tech stuff that lays the foundation for the creative stuff.

It never works in reverse.

But, that being the case, and as my dear friend sadly noticed, many of her photography teachers never graduated from “classroom” to “love affair”.

Humility aside, I, early on, kicking and screaming, and with great discipline and determination, invested in the tech side of photography, so that it eventually became reflexive, second-nature, automatic, instinctual, subconscious.

It paid off a hundred-fold.

So that now, when I’m out and about shooting and creating, I’m not laboring over the mechanics, just leaning into the love part of the equation-where art and heart live.

I can enjoy, treasure, and esteem this love affair as it is meant to be.

My love language, in photography, if there is such a thing, more recently, is inspiration, motivation, aspiration, celebration.

Even after all these years, there is still a twinkle in the wrinkle and a spark in the heart.

Good gadhhhh. I love her company, her affinity, her familiarity, her intimacy.

I love being in a grande affair with her.

One sure benefit of investing in the tech, early on, is that it gives you the freedom, to really get after, and throw yourself completely into, that creative part of photography that excites, inspires, and turns you on the most. Because you are no longer fumbling and bumbling about with the science of it all. You are enjoying the art of it all.

And the art of it all is the art of the great love affair.

I’m not, by nature, a secretive, behind-closed-doors, relationship sort of a guy. When I love, I want it to be open, in full view, grande, for all to see. This is exactly why I publicly speak and teach so passionately and glowingly about my love affair with photography.

Think about the person you love and adore right now. That didn’t happen overnight. It happened over many years of time-tested conversations, struggles, tears, laughter, celebrations, late-night intimacies, afternoon delights, challenging discussion, family struggles, trips together, vacations, compromises, shared passions, and interests.

Same in photography. Love’s maturation, even saturation, comes from spending time together, intimate time, year after year, month after month, week after week, day after day, moment after moment

“If I had a flower for every time I thought of you…I could walk through my garden forever.”

― Alfred Tennyson



Jack Hollingsworth