"No Offense" But You're a Negative Nelly

So I went to one photography club meeting at Texas State my freshman year. I thought it would be a great way to meet people. During the meeting I was asked what I liked to photograph, which is people. Then what was it that I liked to capture? My answer was that I liked to make people feel good about themselves. I wanted to capture the best possible part of each person, so that they could see the good in themselves. This seemed to be an answer that everyone present appreciated, however later at lunch after the meeting the conversation inevitably turned back to photography.

The guy running the club (I'm not even sure of his name, seeing as how this was my first and last encounter with the photography club), who was also sitting at the complete other end of the long table, was talking about how he loved photographing people too, and that he liked to capture their rawness. He wanted to capture the reality and not glamorize them. And then the kicker, he turned towards me and very pointedly said "No offense to your photography." Funny, I hadn't taken an offense... until then. I shook my head, said no worries, but inside I kind of wanted to punch him. I've been called a violent person before (mostly by my little sisters), though I've never actually physically lashed out at someone... at least not since second grade... anyway...

My point is, why isn't it okay for me to want to make the best of things? Why is it frowned upon in todays society to be optimistic? I don't get it. It seems there's always someone there ready to knock you down if ever you're too happy. This world we live in is so temporary, and at times so negative, so why not just make the best of it? If this guy wants to capture the gritty, real, sometimes sad reality of people's lives well that's just fine for him. But it's also okay for me to want to capture the positive bits.

I'm not always an optimistic person. It's impossible to be happy all the time. Sometimes I'm even a pessimist. But I'd like to think that at the end of the day I'm happy with myself, my life, and the people in it. So what if sometimes I see with rose colored glasses? I'm not forcing you to wear them. Be as negative, downtrodden, and sad as you want to be. See the world as a foggy, black and white mess. I'll see the world as a beautiful stepping stone in my path through life and my faith walk. I'll see all the bright colors it has to show me, and know that maybe I'm helping to brighten up someone else's day as well.

"To me, photography is an art of observation. It's about finding something interesting in an ordinary place... I've found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them."
-Elliott Erwitt


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