I spent the weekend chilling out with an aunt and uncle and what started out as a weekend of just practising taking pics of their beautiful home which they share with their kind and gentle dog Yuri, turned out to be so much more. They have a large living room, at one end is the TV and fireplace – at the other a big bookshelf, the dog’s bed, a stylish leather chair, wardrobe and some framed pictures my father Valentino Monticello did back in the seventies. At night the room was lowly lit and the glow of the swimming pool would give off a calming light which radiated into the space. Each evening I was drawn to set up my camera on the tripod and aim it in the direction of either the pool or the back wall.
What started as fun and a way of distracting myself, actually turned out to be a time of reflection and I think I somehow have found a little peace in my heart and a new direction and understanding of taking photographs.
Every evening after supper I would try and concentrate on my framing and focus which is really difficult in the dark (I use manual lens). I wanted to keep my ISO as low as possible and playing around with the shutter speed, I would experiment pressing the shutter release cable then holding my breath as I counted.
The process itself became a form of meditation and I’d spend a couple of hours every evening just doing the same thing. So yes, life is exactly like taking a photograph, which made me think of something I read about in Taoism – Wu-Wei (action without action) – allowing life to unfold effortlessly and accept its natural flow.
You can’t beat yourself up about the picture you thought was going to be amazing but instead turned out not to be. or the great picture you accidently deleted. Once you have pressed the shutter that moment has passed and you can never change it. You can only be present today and concentrate on taking the best picture at the moment you are in.
So from the weekend experience my present to myself is to change my attitude and just let life unfold. I will go with the flow, do the things I love and I will let the universe dictate my destiny and accept whatever comes my way with the thought that life is just like a photograph. I will hold my breath and press the shutter gently and wait for the big surprise. Life is just like a shoot – you never know what you will get.
I also realise I need and want a 21mm Super Elmar, So now I have to start saving. I found out that my 80-year-old uncle wants to jump off the side of the mountain in a paraglider, and I have somehow agreed to keep him company.