Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning. -Joseph Campbell
Nearly all time spent in the pursuit of this craft known to most as “photography” I spend in complete solitude. I do not teach workshops or lead photo outings. I don’t operate my own gallery where I meet the public on a regular basis. For the most part it is a one man show. I do work with a local gallery and participate in smaller more local events once or twice per year, but for the most part I am the beginning, middle, and end when it comes to my art and how it gets out into the world.
The majority of outreach I participate in is mostly here on this blog and on the social media circles. I must admit, I have a love / hate relationship with social media. Being my most consistent way of sharing I do I find it very beneficial. Without it I would be more unknown than I am. But with it, and this may just be me being a little weird, but using social media, primarily Facebook, at time makes me feel a little cheap. Or at minimum, a little needy.
I do find it easier to write short little blurbs regularly than to write a more lengthy post here. I’m quite sure I overthink things when writing a blog post. When I share a quick image to fb I just write a sentences about how the image makes me feel or why I believe it was significant enough to photograph. It takes just a few minutes and the post is done. That part I like. Whether it has any impact on anyone else I really don’t know.
Communications is more than words
I have never been one for small talk. To put it bluntly, I hate small talk. I find it uncomfortable, trivial, and completely useless. This is not to say I am unsocial or uncommunicative. There seems to be nothing better than good conversation which is meaningful and to the point. Small talk just for sake of talking is nothing but unwanted noise as far as I’m concerned. So it probably comes as no surprise I don’t actively seek out others to “hang out” with. It may sound like I have no friends. Truth be told, I don’t have many who I would consider “friends”, but that may be due to how I look at friendship. Co-workers, neighbors, those I have met and meet on a regular basis for either personal or business matters, I don’t actually consider friends but rather acquaintances.
Over the years when the subject of photography comes up I have always found myself attempting to explain what I do. I then have to attempt to explain why I do what I do. Because to me, the “what” is not nearly as important as the “why”. It usually ends up with me rather awkwardly attempting to explain myself to someone who has no idea what I’m talking about. Hence my reluctance to place myself in situations that may require small talk.
I have no doubt that over the years this has led to most people knowing very little about why I do what I do. That’s Okay with me. My journey has always been much more about self discovery as opposed to self promotion. I do understand the curiosity of others. Heck I’m curious about most things myself. Sometimes my curiosity even involves other people.
One way or another, we all have to find what best fosters the flowering of our humanity in this contemporary life, and dedicate ourselves to that. -Joseph Campbell
As we begin this new year I have a renewed optimist for the future. I couldn’t tell you exactly what that optimism concerns, but that fact is I feel it. I sense something. It may sound like a bunch of gobbledygook to some, but there are things I believe in that I can not explain. I have grown to rely more and more on my sense of things. As a Jedi relies on the force, I too rely on a power greater than myself.
We all must find that force that drives us to do better, become better. It makes no difference what that is as long as it is good. You want to be a better Dad, study what good Dads do. You want to be a better fisherman, study what good fisherman do. A better artist, learn about art. You want to be a better photographer, don’t worry about what camera you have, that I can say for absolute certain.
Your life is the fruit of your own doing. You have no one to blame but yourself. -Joseph Campbell
Take a hero’s journey and discover what you do not know. Experience what you have yet to experience. I think of a hero’s journey as a sort of passage. A journey that begins in the dark and little by little light begins to show slowly creeping in sometimes in the most unexpected places. You can travel a great distance in the dark, but you will only remain in the dark if you stop. Your strength will come from continuing even in the darkest of places. The journey will slowly become your mission. It will inspire you to keep going. You will, if you allow yourself the freedom of mind, look forward to challenges, and even cherish the most difficult times you have had. The challenges and difficulties as hard and unpleasant as they were, are, and will be, will be the greatest source of strength you will ever gain. It will become your greatest ally for the rest of your life. You will find strength in your well of experiences over and over. Each time you draw strength from your well you will not only be utilizing your greatest gift you will replenish it with even more experiences.
Do not run from your troubles, problems, or responsibilities. Face them, attack them, and concur them. Do this with the same force and voracity as a Spartan in the Battle of Thermopylae.