Before photographing a Youth Turkey Hunt last weekend, Sarah Ann Jump lent me her favorite photo book: “Photosynthesis: A Simple Guide to the Magic of Photography” by Bryan Moss. Moss’s beautiful writing is about the process and philosophy behind photography, rather than pictures themselves.
Here is a favorite passage of mine, that stuck with me as I sat in the woods at dawn in my camouflage, watching the sun rise and hearing the woods wake up.
“We can define intuition. We can quote hundreds of famous people about its undeniable role in peak performance.
But if we try to control it, it becomes more elusive than ever.
How, then, can we cultivate it?
There are hundreds of books that try to answer this question. But I think it’s relatively simple.
Photographers must live in the moment. Given the nature of what they do, they have little other choice. Previous and future pictures are irrelevant. The only one that counts is the one you’re making now. If the photographer is in tune with her intuition, concentrating on the moment and in tune with the subject, the result will take care of itself.”
This lesson about photography—that living in the moment is most important—is also something I learned and observed from the hunters. Hunters need to be in tune with their subject: animals and the natural world, in order to be successful. That’s also why many of them love hunting. Watching the hunters visually and emotionally become a part of the landscape was beautiful to witness.
“As photographers we must cherish the experience, the picture-taking, and do it for the joy of the experience. The results are not important. What will be will be.”
Like Moss’s quote, every hunter said they didn’t care about whether they got an animal or not—but rather cherished the experience. There are many lessons to be learned from the people that let us document their lives.
Photographers: what has helped you cultivate “intuition” and “presence” that Moss references?