A Letter to a Friend

Dear Friend, it was good to catch up the other day. Thank you for sharing those thoughts with me. I've always been interested in others journey's down the photographic creative path, and to all intents and purposes yours is going admirably well. Like all journeys involving exploration and "discovery" there are bound to be days of euphoric highs, and of course deep black lows. This path will be lonely and at times densely populated, sometimes by others on the same journey, other times by folks sitting on the side of the road. Those sitting may offer advice.

"..it's already been done"
"...your old stuff is better than your new stuff"
"...get a life"
"no one will be interested in, or buy that"

Notice I said sitting by the path?

Why are they there? Perhaps they had good intentions to begin with, and just got exhausted. Perhaps the prospect of a never ending journey frightened them, perhaps the chance that they MAY just succeed was to frightening for them to contemplate? I can't speak for these other people, I do know that the journey will never end for many, myself included, and that is what makes it so attractive; to me. Having a purpose to use our eyes and share what we see is one of the best reasons I can think for getting out of bed each day.

Photography is a wonderful craft full of exciting possibilities and potential. It can used to record and document, to interpret, to create. You can choose to explore ideas, or wander the world camera in hand hoping to catch that one that got away. And like all crafts it will takes many many years to 'master'. When I say craft, I don't just mean the technical fiddling, f-stops shutter speeds, choice of lenses, or cameras. I mean truly appreciating the full power and impact of what a photographic image is capable of. Historically, culturally, philosophically. Learning these things won't happen overnight,you can accelerate the learning by enrolling in a college dedicated to photography though, and appreciating them and understanding them will take a lifetime. A lifetime of dedicated study, thought and questioning, above all questioning.

After we spoke recently, I remembered Baz Luhrmann's film Romeo and Juliet. I had just begun full-time teaching when it was released. It was an old story re-told, in a refreshing and interesting way, and I'm sure English teachers the world over breathed a sigh of relief. This is what artists do, retelling an old stories in new and exciting ways. Artists understand their own humanity, well, and they live in and understand their own culture just as well. Sharing and re-telling is how many artists do what they do so successfully, tapping into those ideas that appeal to so many folks in a profound and intriguing way is your biggest challenge, dare I say, a lifelong task, but a worthy one no less.

Put on your hiking boots, pack a bag with some film, some memory cards, a couple of cameras, and a tripod, and get out there; the light is always gorgeous.

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This page contains a single entry by s2art published on April 9, 2008 11:32 AM.

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