15 year old boys can be rather inscrutable.
When that 15 year old is a beloved nephew, you jump on anything that pulls them out of their silent cave and into conversation.
One of the things my nephew and I both enjoy is photography. On his most recent birthday, he asked for money for a camera. I gave him a photography class that we attended together.
I wasn’t sure if he enjoyed it or not, but when he asked if I would take pictures with him the next morning at sunrise – that would be 6:30 a.m. – I figured he must have been at least a little inspired.
And so we got up early and headed out into the chilly morning.
Why am I so excited to share this with my nephew?
Photography teaches you patience. While you can stage certain elements or play with lighting, most photography is about waiting and watching for that perfect moment.
Photography teaches you to notice details. You learn to pay attention to the tiny perfections and imperfections.
Photography teaches you that light changes everything. This is not only important for taking pictures, but, if you can internalize it, I think it helps you to understand that everything looks – and feels – different as the day progresses.
Photography teaches you how to learn. Sometimes you just get lucky with a shot, but more often, you have to keep trying…. and, let’s be honest, keep muttering to yourself, adjusting your position and camera settings until you learn to help your camera see what your eye is dazzled by.
Photography teaches you to talk without words. To tell stories with an expression. To invite and cajole and accuse and forgive and to create countless other subtle, deeply human conversations that take place only in our eyes.
We didn’t even leave his yard that morning, but we discovered a whole gorgeous world of color and detail, slowly illumined by the rising sun.
And then it was time for school and work. Because that it photography’s final lesson: that the moment you capture is gone as soon as the shutter snaps. We are only given the present moment, but sometimes, once in a while, we get to keep a memento.
My favorite memory wasn’t captured on film. I will never forget the way my nephew, the little boy who has grown so quickly into a fine young man, looked around his garden and his neighborhood with new eyes, and found unexpected beauty.
A lesson that is much bigger than a camera.
I asked Isaac if he would like to share a couple of his photos. They’re absolutely gorgeous:
All pictures, except those indicated, were taken by me with a Nikon D3300.
Like Isaac’s photos? Follow him on Instagram: @ isaacsphotoss