Saint or Sinner 2016, Self Expression and the New Year

January 05, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

It's 2016, the year is fresh and new, and we should have flying cars by now. Way back in 1955, the ten year old Andre spent time with his buddies thinking about the future. We were very confident and self assured, we were sure that flying cars would be the norm by at least the year 2000. It is easy to look at today's trends and extrapolate well into the future. Our predictions did not take into consideration one small factor, human behavior. Human nature has the tendencies to run the gamut from saintlike to sinner.

 

Perhaps there is something flawed in our approach to our own future. Logic tells us that we only can affect circumstances in the current moment. Our past is unchangeable. We can look back at it fondly, or with anxiety, but it is what it is. Our future, can take many paths, resulting in a wide range of outcomes. We either decide or not decide, and embark on a path of circumstances that are unknown to us. Every January, I get this overpowering urge to reform my diet, work patterns, or get more organized. I am not alone in this annual surge of self improvment. It is society wide I suspect. It is not long before the realization sets in that change for the better is elusive at best. Evaluating a change that has long term consequences is daunting. My approach these days is short term. Forget the life changing decisions, lets think of only today.

 

There is plenty of room for improvement in my life, however I am limiting this discussion to photography, specifically my personal work. My best work is more than can be described by a set of rules or formula. It evolves from emotion, imagination, experiential, and technical inner landscape. I will make the decision each day to nurture and care for this inner space. Avoid thinking to much about acquiring or becoming dependent on photographic equipment. I already have plenty of gear to help me express myself. Value the creative process. Great ideas or photographs sometimes reveal themselves in stages. Editing my work with a critical eye, looking for parts of compositions that stand out, trusting my instincts, and being patient will work. Exercise seeing compositions even when I am without a camera, and it's OK to take visual notes with a cellphone. They are not intended as final, they are just notes, relax and enjoy the process. Concentrate and be more aware of the present moment. Tunnel vision is a human trait that has helped us survive over the millennium, for me it is counter productive as far as personal work is involved. I am part of an ever evolving environment, stay open to the energy that is all around me. I am still amazed by what we categorize as “the small things in life”. My youngest Grandchild, age 5, uses a cellphone to make photographs. His subjects are captured from his perspective. That being low to the ground, unbiased, free form, and without hesitation. Not surprisingly there are some keepers that I'd frame. His approach is pure childlike enthusiasm, and yes technique needs a polish, but that will come later. Primary is encouraging love of life, joy of seeing, and self confidence.

 

2016 begins with a fresh clean slate. After a brief evaluation, setting clear priorities, and deciding to be more present, I am optimistic. On other fronts, I will eat more salads, less sugar and fried food, and get out and walk more, (with a camera). Also, I'll trust my instincts, stay away from self doubt, try not to take criticism seriously, and be open and observant. Getting out to local galleries to look at the current work being done is also important to me, I will do more of this. The beginning of a new year can be just another day, or a new beginning. It's a good thing I have this chance to reboot the brain once every twelve months. Happy New Year everyone.    


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