When we are young, it seems, someone is always asking us, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I was asked this question plenty of times, myself, and I would dutifully answer with something that seemed good or interesting at the time—a marine biologist, perhaps, or “I want to work with wolves and big cats and birds of prey.” Sometimes, when it seemed acceptable, I would simply tell the questioners that I didn’t know, which was the closest thing to the truth. The truth itself was an answer I could not give; they would have laughed as if it were a joke, because it was plainly impossible.
Because, truth be told, what I wanted to be when I grew up was a kid.
Adults spent most of their time doing things they didn’t care about in order to pay the bills, which they always had to worry about. They could only squeeze out a bit of time here or there—during the weekend, in between chores and errands—to do whatever it was they actually wanted to do. They missed a lot, in their bustle, and curiosity seemed to have become a mere reprieve from their ordinary states of mind.
But the child does not worry about these things, is free as yet of the workaday world. To the child’s eye, nothing is too small to be worth noticing. Light and shadow, color, pattern, and shape are ever fascinating, ever delightful; everything is bigger, every moment longer, and curiosity is a way of being.
When I look through a viewfinder, I see the world this way; with my camera in hand, I am a kid still, for at least a little while. Through its lens, the child in me peers out. Let me show you what she sees.