Jonathan Kingston photographing at Moomomi, Molokai, Hawaii. (Photo by, Richard A. Cooke III)

Photo by, Richard A. Cooke III

The happy week has been a blur.  Old friends, new friends, good food, good wine, good talk, and lots of laughter – the sum total of being alive and open and free.  Tonight we gave a slide show of the images everyone created during the week, and the images sang with this joy of being alive, and participating in this world with good company, food and the occasional cable release.  I can only speak for myself, but my greatest lesson of the last six days has been to understand at a deeper level what it means to take the experience of making a photograph as the reward.  Sure it is thrilling to ‘snap a good pic’ as my Indian students would often say, that’s the gravy, but if you are not falling in love with the experience of making the image – what’s the point?  This lesson translated into something amazing as I watched my images come up on the screen in the darkened room this evening.  Rather than feeling critical judgment of my work, I felt the joy of being there in the moment and was reminded of something my friend Paul Liebhardt would often say. “The virtue of the camera is not the power it has to transform the photographer into an artist, but the impulse it gives him to keep looking.”  I, for one, am looking for joy.

Birthday celebration at Hui Ho\'olana, Molokai, Hawaii. (Photo by Jonathan Kingston/Aurora)