I've actually been out taking photographs...or capturing images as I like to think of it. Taking photographs is just take, taking a picture of someone or something in order to remember an occaision or event. Capturing images is more like trying to tell stories. It is creating something that has within it a message or messages that are open to interpretation by the viewer. These images may cause a viseral response such as "Wow" or "That makes me remember when..." or "I wonder what the story is behind it."
I went to Venice Beach on Saturday with the Redlands Camera Club for a photo scavenger hunt. It was great fun. They gave us a list of things to find and photograph. And where better than Venice Beach to find just about anything? (The one thing I know I didn't find was strange or unusual footwear). I am working on the images from that and will post them on this website soon.
On Sunday we had some torrential rains from Hurrican Norbert sweep through Riverside. Flooding and falling trees and downed power lines everywhere. I went out with a friend in the evening to capture some more images of the day. I also took some with my cell phone. Again, I am working on those images also and will post them soon. I already posted some to Facebook.
I really enjoy capturing images and sharing them. I really like it when people respond. It sometimes surprises me what people respond to and how they respond. What I really like, though, is that they respond. It is as if we are connected by the image somehow and a dialogue, no matter how short, transpires.
One problem I have is sitting down and working on the post-processing of my captures. It takes discipline. And it takes saying no to some things...things that I may not really want to do any way. That part is getting easier. Like the image displayed here, there is always a calm after a storm. It may take a storm to shake things up. But it is the afterward that we can find meaning. We find gratitude for having survived. We find the dirt and smutz has been washed away and we can see more clearly. That is what I like to find in my images: a clearer view of life and how to live, meaning and the satisfaction that can bring.
Now back to work on those images. Thanks for listening as I "show my work".
Seems to me God is trying to talk to me lately. Giving me a bit of a nudge as it were. I think somehow He thought I should go to see the movie The Chef today. It put into images and story exactly what I have been thinking of late about passion, art and the need to create.
The movie is about a man who starts out as a very promising chef, getting great reviews and praise. He has earned "two stars", which, I have learned recently is pretty darn good in the culinary field. However years ago, he accepted a job in a pedestrian restaurant where he was promised complete control of the kitchen and that doesn't work out. His creativity is stifled at every turn until after ten years he realizes it isn't going to change. But it takes the bottom falling out, with his world crumbling around him, for him to realize he is not happy.
When everything has fallen apart, the hostess says to him something like, "This is exactly what you needed to have happen. This is your chance." "
"I feel so lost," he says in utter frustration and despair.
"Exactly. This is probably the best thing that could have happened to you."
Sometimes we have to lose everything we have in order to gain what we really need. Security and safety are beguiling seductresses. They can lure us to the rocky shoals of false beliefs. And when we hit a rock and our ill-equipped ship sinks, we can either sink with it, or swim. The hero of the film chooses to swim.
I loves this movie. It is all about passion and creating what your true muse calls you to create. During the credits there is a scene where an actual chef is describing to the actor who plays the role in the movie what it is like for him to create a dish he is proud of. It is a grilled cheese sandwich. But, as is often expressed during the course of the movie, it is not "just a cheese sandwich". It is something to feed not only the stomach, but the soul and the spirit. The chef says that while he is putting together any dish, nothing else in the world exists. You study it, shift it, toy with it, not too much, just enough as your inner guide directs you. You know when it is done. And if it is not, throw it away. This is the blessing and the course of being a true artist.
Okay, so there you have it. Once again, art is something that must be allowed to flow out freely. The artist is the conduit. Some block it and don't let it develope. The artist listens to his gut and gives it form.
I hear you, God. It is time to listen to that still, small voice, cut bait and sail out to sea to see where the spirit takes me.
Memo to self: It's all process.
Even though you aren't working directly on any of the projects currently "in the oven" or "on the back burner", you are still on some level processing. Thinking about it or them, well, that counts. Maybe not much, but it does count. It is a heck of a lot better than giving up. At least that is what I believe. You can't just wait around, you have to take action or nothing will ever take form, but it all starts in the incubator called your mind. That is what I know for sure.
Last night I went over to a friend's house and watched an episode of PBS's American Masters. It was the life story of photographer Dorothea Lange. It was two hours well spent. I found myself in awe of the way Lange led her life. She was dedicated to her art, even from a very young age. And she surrounded herself by artists and creative people. She also sacrificed many things to follow her muse. I was astounded by how she captured images of the Depression, the Japanese Internment during WWII and the resettlement project of the late 1930's and the creation of Lake Barryessa in the 1950's that wiped out the community of Monticello, CA. Her images captured these events so effectively that history in some cases changed course...for the better.
(The Image at right is Lange's most iconic of the era, Migrant Mother)
Lange devoted her life to her art and to causes she believed in. It cost her dearly in some ways in the loss of relationships with her family and her children. But sometimes that is what happens when you are driven. Lange did good in the world while pursuing a passion she could not suppress. In some ways I envy her that.
I have never been that driven by causes or passions. That's just how I have lived my life. I doubt that anyone is going to say anything I did during my lifetime changed the course of history. No matter how much time and energy I devote to my photography and writing at this stage of my life, it is not going to have change the course of history. But who am I to say? I have come to realize that you can only start from where you are, and work with what you have. As the Buddha said, "The trouble is, you think you have time."
Time, I fear, is not to be had, but used, and used wisely. And so I continue to process these new inspirations and thoughts. Time will tell. It always does.
I have been working myself back into writing this blog for a while now. Well, its been more like I've been resisting writing this blog for a while. Writing in general has been something I have put on the back burner. It seems like forever since I had tapped upon my keyboard my "qwerki" thoughts and musings. When I checked just now, however, I saw that my last blog entry was August 3. August ! Not as bad as I thought. I know, I know. I said I was going to keep it up...to write a blog at least once a week or more.
I also said I was kicking around an idea I had/have for a new theme for a blog about food and the emotions and meanings around food other than satisfying physical hunger and sustaining life. Well, my friends, I do intend to do that. It is a work in progress, "coming soon" as they say. But I thought I needed to start somewhere. So, here it is, here is where I start...again.
I have been reading a little book called Show Your Work by Austin Kleon*. It is subtitled Ten Ways to Share Your Creativity. I like what he says about sharing your work as you work. Insights, challenges, successes, creativie u-turns (as in Artist's Way by Julia Cameron) and so on. So I'm thnking that is what I want/should/ought to do more of. As Kleon says, it is more about the process than the product. The product is what others finally see, but they never see what goes on behind the creation of the product. Sharing that process, facilitates the creative impulse to produce. Yet, the process is like life: it is in the living that we find life.
Anyway, I wanted to share some this process, the beginning again process, with you and see where it takes me...us, if you would like to come along.
Should be fun. And as usual, you comments and observations are always welcome. And forgive me if I feel compelled to pull you gently back to topic. I know I meander, but the point of this to create some disciplined habits to my process so that maybe, actually, really, the product will be more than an end...more of a beginning.
*From Kleon's website http://austinkleon.com/about/