Happiness is a new lens

I have heard that there are 12 states of happiness. I don’t really know what they are or, how “happiness” is determined; although I did find a short article that said to be happy we need to “anticipate with pleasure, savor the moment, express happiness, and reflect on happy memories”.

I know there are times and things that make me happy. Nevertheless, there are moments that no matter what my surroundings are, or the circumstances I am in, I am just not happy.

My wife makes me happy, and even when I know she is mad at me for something I have said or done, I am still happy when she shows up. Maybe that’s one of those states.

I doubt there has ever been any studies done on the states of happiness for photographers. So while readers think about what makes them happy I’m going to delve into that mysterious state.

Is it happiness about how things like camera equipment make them feel, or about how circumstances such as creating a good photograph make them feel?

Most photographers are devastated when they receive a poor review on a picture, so there is lots of ego involved in their happiness. And sitting around with other photographers talking about anything photographic is just plain blissful.

I don’t have any science that I can call up and haven’t discussed happiness with any philosophers. I have always felt that photographers have a culture of their own. There are those who might argue that concept, but I am absolutely convinced that it is so.

I constantly interact with other photographers in online forums, or talk to them personally, and those photographers are always ready and willing to tell me when they are happy or not.

Some are actually more interested in the technology of photography then the actual process of making pictures. I recall a guy that was happiest when he found a problem with a piece of photography equipment. He delighted in making test after test, and would sometimes spread 20 or more prints on my counter explaining how a particular camera or lens didn’t match what the manufacturer or other photographers claimed. I’m disappointed when something doesn’t work as described, but he would actually be cheery.

I have a friend that spends every spare minute hunting (with his camera). He’ll show up at my shop with a grin as wide as all outdoors and plunk down a box of prints for me to go through and happily describe how he crawled thru the sagebrush, waded some creek, or slowly froze as he hung off some cliff, and lately even includes the numbers of ticks he removed from himself after returning home. What makes him happy is the process of making pictures.

I know photographers that are continually changing equipment. Not because they find problems with what they own, or because their equipment is limiting, but because they read something, or talked to someone, about a new addition from their manufacturer of choice, and can’t live without it.

They excitedly send me, or show me, picture after picture they made with that new piece of equipment. I know their choices don’t so much meet a practical need as an emotional one, but they make it easy for me, and anyone else they talk to, to observe how very happy they are with their new camera, or lens, and for that matter, with everything they own.

This medium has many levels and outlets to make one happy. There are portrait photographers, wildlife photographers, scenic and landscape photographers, sports photographers, those that specialize in plant photography, and, of course many more each with differing sets of skills.  This is to my mind, their own states of happiness.

I don’t know if photographers have twelve states of happiness, or only the four I found in that short article, but I will say that I meet lots of people that are happy to be doing photography and being involved with it in their own way.

These are my thoughts for this week.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me. Email your comments and suggestions to me at emcam@telus.net or phone 250-371-3069

John Enman owns and operates Enman’s Camera at 423 Tranquille Road in Kamloops, selling an interesting selection of used photographic equipment and offers professional wedding and event photography.  Check out www.enmanscamera.com.