American photographer, Dorothea Lange, said, "The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." Dorothea's statement resonates with me. After years of making images, I instinctively view the world around me with curiosity and purpose, with or without a camera in hand - I can't help it. I've trained myself to search for light patterns, leading lines, intersecting objects, colour harmonies, unique faces and landscapes, no matter where I am or what I am doing. This way of "seeing" has forced me to live in the moment; enriching my experiences with the people I meet and the places I visit.
There are many times in my life that I wished I brought a camera with me. Like the time I was in Alberta driving down a country road, surrounded by mountains, and a real-life cowboy on a horse was lassoing an escaped bull. Damn! Or those less epic but beautiful misty mornings on my drive into the city where the sun is just rising and the dew is glistening on the grass. Even if I'm not camera-ready, I take mental note and revisit if I can.
Fortunately, I was fully prepared for an evening of photo-taking for my visit to the Paris Fair last month. Fairs are always so much fun - lots of colour, movement and interesting people to photograph. My senses were on high alert as I snapped away. Even if you don't make a living as a photographer, I highly recommend bringing your camera to a fair or amusement park. Observe your surroundings; look at the interesting lines, the bright hues, the patterns of light or the smile on a child's face as he is about to ride the carousel and start framing the subject through your lens. I promise that once you start, you will see, too.