A Moment Captured

*This post is part of Relish 11

Even in this innovative age we live in where we all seem to have our camera phones with us at all times, there are going to be moments that simply don’t get caught on film or pixel. What was one such moment, that you know lasts in your memory right now, but that will fade as time goes on? Describe it here, as if you have the photo right in front of you.

This one is an interesting one because, of course, I am a photographer.  Capturing moments with my camera? It’s what I do. More and more as I go deeper into photography I see the world around me as photo compositions. I think about how I would shoot it and often I do shoot it (which reminds me that I should write a blog post about how much I adore Instagram).

That said, it took me about 30 seconds to come up with an idea for this prompt. Of course there were many moments in 2011 that did not end up being captured in my camera. Some of these moments stand out, while others fade away.

I remember a moment at Camp Shuttersisters in California. We campers were sitting by the campfire, toasting s’mores and drinking wine. We were soaking up the warm fire, the damp air and the overwhelming positive energy of the sisterhood.

Jen Lemen was sitting on a picnic table, her face illuminated by the flames. She was telling her story and ripping her soul bare. For us. For herself. For the dark night. 70-odd chatty women gathered and you could have heard a pin drop.

Jen’s voice is magic. It is truly beautiful and I remember listening to it – so soft and kind but strong as a diamond. I remember being awestruck at how raw and open she was.

At some point I realized that I was crying and I wondered if I was crying for her or for me.


About Debra Cowie

Debra is a photographer and visual storyteller based in Ottawa, Canada. She is an explorer at heart, whose passion for photography was born in travel and has been carried with her to more than 30 countries so far. Debra is also an avid cook and baker and much of her current work focuses on food styling and photography in her serendipitously beautifully lit kitchen. She has flirted with Polaroid and 35mm film photography but her true love is her DSLR (aka "Boyfriend Mark").
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10 Responses to A Moment Captured

  1. rebecca says:

    Wow. Again, you have me spellbound. I love this so much, both because of the moment it depicts (and how I ache to have been there) and because of the way you tell it. Tell me stories all day, I’ll be here listening. 🙂

  2. Kaitlin says:

    My moment like that is when in Thailand I went for a run. I ran up and up a hill and came upon a bare-bones house, with only the cement skeleton finished. I snuck in the fence to see the view, because the house was set at the side of the hill. Worried, I glanced around to see if anyone was there. There was a study type thing, a bedroom. Even the wiring wasn’t finished, it was all stone cold cement. I climbed the stairs to the living room.

    The architect knew what he was doing. I got a 180 degree open view of the Island I was on, complete with the large statues of Buddha and Laksmi which I’d run from, the ocean and several other islands around, a storm rolling in… it took my breath away.

    Sadly, no camera. But I sat there and memorized that view. And I really hope that the future owners of that house appreciate it as much as I did!

  3. Roxanne says:

    Camp Shutter Sisters sounds magical – you told its story so beautifully. I have been reading Jen Lemen’s words for some time and always find myself moved by them. You are right: it is harder for photographers to learn when to put the camera down, but it makes those moments when that happens a little extra rewarding…

  4. Diana says:

    What a lovely post. Love your images, thoughts, and blog. Met you on Picture the Holidays.

  5. I love your story, it is pure joy to read your words. I was unable to come up with just one moment for mine and I am noticing with some of these prompts I am not going as deep as I could. I am going to look at that. Thank you for bringing that to my awareness even though it wasn’t your intent.


  6. Pingback: Black & White iPhoneography – Photography Editing Tutorial Video « rsmithing

  7. rsmithing says:

    Hey Debra, great shots! I reference this post in one I did recently on iPhoneography over at http://rsmithing.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/black-white-iphoneography-photography-editing-tutorial-video …come say hi & share your thoughts in the comments!

  8. Siobhan Wolf says:

    I feel the warmth of the flames on my face, hear the held breaths as the words ring out into the night, see the wide eyes watching the storyteller. Thanks for taking me back.

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