Walking with my camera
I've lived in Belgium 18 months and only recently started walking with my camera, which is teaching me to step out of the shadows literally and figuratively, to accept who I am and where I am and cherish that, says Expatica's blogger V-grrl.
I've lived in Belgium 18 months and only recently started walking with my camera. Like any good tourist, I've photographed the famous sights and settings of the places I've visited across Europe, but until recently, I hadn't carried my camera along as I've walked to catch a bus, strolled through my neighborhood, or run errands in my small village near Brussels.
As I hit the midpoint of our three year stay here, I realized how much I wanted to capture scenes from my daily life. In the past my inner perfectionist would flatten my photographic ambitions by harping that the light isn't right, the sky is too white, the composition is boring, those wires are ruining the photo, the angle isn't the best etc.
Happily, my inner creative muse finally succeeded in drowning out my critics and insisting that imperfect photos were better than no photos and would put me on the path to improving my skills.
So after my children boarded the bus recently, I took my camera on a walk through local terrain. With my sights set on photo-taking, I saw so much more: the old white chicken coop with the turquoise blue paint peeling off the doors, a little cobblestone courtyard between an old barn and a house sporting a lovely potted garden, a door framed by climbing ivy, a pink house with bright yellow curtains sporting lime green polka dots at the kitchen window, the curve of the road as it winds downhill through the village and the curve of the planted beds on the corners. The hard part wasn't finding interesting things to photograph but having the courage to dare to point my camera at people's private property.
Since moving to Belgium, I've been almost absurdly conscious of trying to blend into my environment, not attract undue attention, not risk offending anyone in any way. I watch what I wear, how and when I eat, the volume of my voice when I talk, the way I interact with shopkeepers and natives. I am more like a very well behaved guest than a resident at home in her community. I'm acutely aware that I hail from a country that has a reputation for boorish behavior and a foreign policy that is scorned by most of Europe.
Walking with my camera is teaching me to step out of the shadows literally and figuratively, to accept who I am and where I am and cherish that. The photos I'm collecting will remind me not just of a place I've loved but the moment I felt at home enough to embrace my imperfections and risk being noticed.
V-Grrrl / Expatica
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