Editor’s Note: Each week we’ll be featuring members of the Photofocus community. Part of our New Year’s resolution is to focus on new and emerging talent. As such, Melissa Niu will personally select images from our readers and feature them here on Photofocus.
When you feel something, your mind and body are trying to tell you something. Listen. Don’t ignore. Today was just another reminder of that basic instinct that we so often and easily seem to lose touch with in our hyper-‘connected’ day and age. There were a few things going on that were weighing heavy a bit on my mind, and something just kept tugging at me saying, forget everything you’re doing right now and just go. Doesn’t matter where or what, just go. Get out of here.
But I had work to do, and I was on the clock, and so I kept pushing back…”No, no, you can’t just go. What are you thinking?”
That practical, responsible nonsense went on for about an hour before I was too exhausted to fight it anymore and just gave in, figuring, if anything, at least it would shut my brain up for a minute. So I grabbed the new NX300 that Samsung put in my hands, jumped in my car, and headed the 12 miles through the canyon down to the coast.
I pulled off to the side of the road at Topanga Beach, stepped outside, and sat by the ocean for a while, watching an older couple try their luck with their fishing lines. My brain tried telling me I’m supposed to be making pictures, but, well, I wasn’t feeling it. I know I could have forced it, especially as one of them caught a fish and they were taking iPhone pictures of their prize together, but still, I just figured right now, I’m better off just marinating in this moment with no purpose other than to take it in and enjoy it. And that was that.
After about 15 minutes, I figured the sun’s about to set in an hour, I should find a nice place to sit down and soak it in, so I headed up Pacific Coast Highway away from the city, and just as the sun began making it’s decent over the horizon, I found myself in front of Pepperdine University, which, if you’ve ever seen it, sits right on a gorgeous grassy knoll overlooking the Pacific. As I was pulling up, a group of cars started to slow down and the first thought I had (and if you’re from LA you’ll immediately understand) was “Damnit, of course. Traffic!” So I looked up to see how far ahead of me it stretched, and, well, I didn’t find traffic. What I found caused me to pull over, throw park, grab my camera, and jump out of my car.
If I kept working, I would have never caught this. If I stayed and forced shots with the fisherman and woman, I would have never caught this. If I didn’t decide to give in to that tug at the gut, I would have never caught this. I simply just let go and succumbed to my feelings, and 15 miles up the coast, this is what they led me to – some of my favorite images from the past couple of months.
— Wasim Muklashy
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