Photography can be many things to many people. You can be active in photography and use a camera for many different reasons: self-expression, storytelling, journalism, documentary, or a good excuse to travel the world. Years ago I would not have thought photography could be used as a means to popularity, but with one look at today’s social media realm and I would say that may be one of the most popular reasons many are active in photography. Young, old, rich, poor, it does not seem to matter. People want you to look at their pictures. Or very possibly, people want you to notice them.
“The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.” –Confucius
I write here for one main reason. I cannot be out creating photographs all the time. I cannot be out creating photographs as much as I would like. I cannot even be out creating photographs as much as I should. So there is this place, the thinking, deliberating, keeping my thoughts in photography and in the creative place.
When not physically involved in the creative process I attempt to be mindfully aware of the creative process. It never really leaves me, though, as life goes on, there are many times more urgent matters deserve my full attention.
I don’t approach writing with the pretense of “having something to say.” Sometimes I may, but many times there is no specific reason that I wish to put in a written form. It has become another place, a place I can find additional solace in. It seems to approach me in a subtle way. As a morning walk seems to approach the sunrise. The desire to contemplate deep thoughts is always present, and at times dominate the present moment.
I do approach the creative process as a type of self-expression, though I am not confident it is completely my expression I strive to express. It is highly personal, but I never feel like I am looking into a mirror at any point of the creative process, but possibly, more appropriately, through Alice’s looking glass. Into a world I desire to be part of. I seem to be a messenger who looks until they have found a message. Then, for no other reason than my own desires, feels a need to express it.
I have come to understand that without question, I engage in photography, creative expression, self expression, whatever name it chooses to go by, for mostly one reason. I am searching. Searching for an answer, possibly. Searching for more questions? Again, possibly.
“There will be no end to the troubles of states, or of humanity itself, till philosophers become kings in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands.” –Plato
I found myself out in nature recently and the searching became abundantly clear. I was there to ease a troubled mind. I was not there to create or explore my creative self. I was there because I needed to be. It was the only place I knew I could go and find peace. Alone, surrounded by the sights and sounds of the open air, cloud filled sky, and lush earth beneath my feet. It’s a natural reaction to a troubled mind. It has never let me down.
I am very aware the time I spend searching, seeking, and solitude I experience does not solve external problems, but most problems in this world, at least in my humble opinion, are problems of our thoughts. This is not a down play on problems, even serious problems. It is an attempt to accept the things we can not change, change the things we can, and to know the difference between the two (serenity prayer).
Struggles and life challenges will not go away simply because we think about them in a specific way. What will go away are the anxieties, worries, and possible misaligned actions that can result in the lack of acceptance and understanding of our own lives and life as a whole.
I have always been somewhat of a worrier. A trait I received from my Mother no doubt. I am fortunate to have found an understanding or a way of understanding of this personal trait. It does not make it easier, that is not the point. What is does do is make it acceptable, understandable, and something that can then be used as positive motivation.