Capturing Life’s Essence: The Intersection of “Being” and “Doing” in Photography

As a passionate photographer, I’ve embarked on a journey that beautifully exemplifies the delicate balance between “being” and “doing.” In the world of photography, it’s easy to get caught up in the technical aspects, gear, apps, shiny objects, and the relentless pursuit of the perfect shot. However, I’ve come to realize that the most profound and authentic photographs emerge when I honor the “human being” within me before I step into the role of the “human doing” behind the camera.

“Being” in photography begins with a deep connection to the world around us. It involves observing, listening, and feeling the stories that unfold in our surroundings. In our hurry to capture the next image, we often forget to pause, breathe, and truly absorb the moment. Yet, it is in this state of mindfulness that we open ourselves to the emotions, colors, light, design, and narratives that make photography an art form-our own, distinctive, special art form.

When I immerse myself in “being” as a photographer, I take a moment to let go of the technicalities and simply experience the scene. I watch how the golden hour light caresses the landscape, or how a subject’s eyes convey a hidden story. This presence in the moment allows me to connect with my subjects on a deeper level, whether they are people, landscapes, or even everyday objects. Click.

One of the most powerful tools a photographer possesses is empathy, and it’s nurtured through “being.” When we take the time to understand our subjects, their experiences, and their emotions, we can capture images that resonate with authenticity and emotion. It’s not merely about taking a picture; it’s about telling a story through the lens.

Now, let’s transition to the aspect of “doing” in photography. Armed with a deep sense of “being,” I find that my “doing” becomes more purposeful and intentional. I choose my equipment and settings with a clear understanding of the story I want to convey. The technical skills I’ve honed over time serve as tools to translate my creative vision into reality.

Imagine standing in a bustling street, capturing the essence of life in motion. With “being” as the foundation, I can anticipate the decisive moment, the perfect interplay of light and shadow, and the subtle gestures that reveal human connections. My camera becomes an extension of my emotions and vision, enabling me to freeze these fleeting moments in time.

Furthermore, the journey of a photographer is riddled with challenges – changing weather conditions, uncooperative subjects, and technical mishaps. It’s in these moments of difficulty that the wisdom of “being” guides me. I embrace setbacks as opportunities for growth, and I remain patient, knowing that sometimes, the most extraordinary shots arise from unexpected circumstances.

In the fusion of “being” and “doing” in photography, I discover my unique voice as an artist. The moments of “being” provide the inspiration, emotion, and authenticity, while the “doing” empowers me to translate that inspiration into a tangible form that others can experience.

Photography is a testament to the beautiful dance between observation and action, presence and technique, heart and skill. It reminds us that, as photographers, we are both creators and witnesses of the world’s stories. To truly capture life’s essence through the lens, we must honor the “human being” within us, and from that place of deep connection and authenticity, we can become remarkable “human doings” who craft images that resonate with the soul.

Want to “do” the photography thing a little better?

Then first learn to “be” a better photographer.



Jack Hollingsworth