Instrument – Blog

What do you think of when you see this?


For me, this photo means many things: cello, masterpiece, Italy, art. But the meaning I want to highlight is instrument.

Here’s another photo.


What words come up with this? Camera, lens, electronic. But tonight I came up with a new way of viewing it: as an instrument.

My cello has faithfully served as an expressive medium for me since I was in 6th grade, and I considered the music it helped me make to be one of the purest forms of art. I poured hours into practice, eagerly sought the mentorship of my teacher, and had phenomenal moments of collaboration when I teamed up with other string players. With my cello, I can give others a glimpse into my mind and communicate without speaking.

Why don’t I view my camera the same way?

Though I’ve only considered myself a photographer since June 2009, I’ve started to view my camera as an instrument. Just like my cello, it helps me reach out to others without using words.

It’s interesting though. Unlike my cello journey, I have never had anyone who I consider a teacher. I “practice”, but no where near as much as the time I put into cello. I have had some memorable moments working with other photographers, but none of those experiences have come close to the euphoric enjoyment shared with fellow musicians.

Why is that?

Recently, I had the privilege to do a photoshoot for UW’s Natya Dance Team. Here is one of my favorite shots:


That shoot reminded me how much I love photography, and how beautiful the world can be. Why shouldn’t I view my camera as an instrument to sing the melody of life? Why shouldn’t I view my camera as a paintbrush to show others how I perceive the colors around me? Why shouldn’t I view my camera as a pen to speak louder than words and touch hearts?

Recently, I’m starting to adopt a new paradigm of photography. Looking at the world through a viewfinder and capturing indescribable beauty has given me a whole new outlook. It’s reminded me to not only stay determined to get to my destination, but enjoy every step on my journey.

The world is my sheet music. All I have to do is pick up my camera, practice, and play the melodies that are already out there.

October 7, 2010