Photos & text by Emma Benson
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower …”
William Blake’s sentiments embody my approach to photography. I’ve had a camera since I was seven years old and, for the first few years, I just took pictures for the subject matter — people and things I cared about. In middle school, I began to explore photography as an art form. My family regularly goes on hikes and nature walks so I predominantly practiced photographing plants and animals.
As I’ve matured as a photographer, I’ve come to realize that photography is less about how to use a camera and more about how you see the world. I believe we can train our eyes to be more attune to the beauty that surrounds us. Now, as a senior in high school, I’ll walk out my door and see a photograph just waiting to be taken — in the way the sun is shining through a leaf or the way a drop of water is resting on a flower petal.
Several of my family members are amateur photographers as well, and I’ve learned a great deal about how to use a camera from my grandpa. I’ve also shadowed a professional portrait photographer to better understand editing and how to create a desired photo. But the majority of my skill I have developed through practice and seeking beauty in the commonplace.
My encouragement to other photographers would be to keep taking pictures whether or not they turn out the way you’d like. As G.K. Chesterton once said, “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.”
I’ve taken many poor photographs over the years, but the more scenes I’ve captured, the lovelier they’ve become and the more I see delightful images all around me!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on South Carolina Wild are solely those of the authors, and do not reflect official policies, positions, or endorsements of activity or products by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.