Every day seems to have the same beginning, middle and end lately. Wake up. Pop pills. Edit or drive to work. Be a photographer. Continue an endless search in my head for answers to our existence. Disappear in music, writing, or stumbling upon new artists. I can’t help but put more thought into the way we’re all connected. Existence made possible by energies.
“We’re all connected,” people say.
I braved the cold shadows of Denver’s streets this afternoon. The sun spilled through buildings and illuminated the opposite end of alleyways as I passed. The light was photographically speaking, perfect, especially around 3 as I found myself heading home. It was even on all things. I remember looking into the hazel eyes of a brown, long-haired dog chained to a Starbucks fence. It looked away in disinterest, eagerly awaiting its owner from within. I seemed to be walking against the grain of the outdoor mall’s patrons. I never feel like I’m walking the right direction. Though, I do often feel like the quiet spectator. I must admit, walking against the flow is no consequence because I’m a big fan of people-watching. No one was paying attention as we passed each other. Once in a while I’d make eye-contact with someone making a point to whomever they were with and I just passed through. In between glances, I watched the lines of the tiled-sidewalks. There was nothing in particular on my agenda that afternoon. It was a good feeling.
I’ve decided to try and force myself to take a day every week and just relax. Since I can remember, I’ve been doing as many projects as I can to try and stay busy. I need to remind myself to stay out of the public light once in a while and just enjoy what I’ve currently made in my life. Lately it’s felt more like a foundation, rather than stronghold.
I picked up another one of Annie Leibovitz’s books called “At Work.” I skimmed the first paragraph noting that she got her start in San Francisco at Rolling Stone, before it was the quintessential rock magazine. She mentioned not even knowing much about music really, but enjoyed the prospect of being published, for whatever reason it was. The same day I received another book, the Autobiography of Stanley Kubrick. Both were a bit dated, but to me feel relevant. Kubrick got his start in photography. His films speak to me, especially 2001: A Space Odyssey (and yes, I’ve read the book). It made me start thinking about how we’re all connected by similar energies, programmed by related genetic material. I don’t know why, but I feel like life has led me to engage these two public figures and to discover more about their journey. Maybe I can learn from their lives.
My doctor advised me not to start smoking, as per my condition [see earlier blogs]. So I decided to smoke the worst thing for me: pipe tobacco. It’s just a winter trend, I believe. It helps me to relax. I’ve decided if it relieves my stress, it will save more years there than it will take off from smoke inhalation. Might be wishful thinking.
My work received some recognition from online and print publications in New York and South Africa recently. It was a real honor to be featured and written about. They asked me several interview questions, which started me thinking more about my “purpose” with photography. I look through my work and think it can always be better. Technically it’s not sound. Emotionally, engaging? Perhaps. It’s for the viewer to decide. All I can do is reveal the honesty about the moment that’s been presented to me. That’s all I want my work to express as I gradually build and grow my technique. Next will be lighting. Reflectors. More Photoshop techniques. As long as they don’t stray from the original pursuit. I kept thinking back to a quote I read on the internet from Picasso where a 5-minute portrait he handed to a lady cost her $5,000. She was shocked at the price and told him, “but it only took you 5 minutes!” And he replied, “No ma’am, it took me my whole life.”
I see all of us are struggling with our craft in different ways through the Facebook pipeline. If on one side of a see-saw was “technicality” and the other “creativity,” it seems we’re all tipped one way or the other, being balanced on this solid block of “understanding” in the center. During my walk, I ventured up to my cousin’s loft several blocks from my home in Capitol Hill. He showed me a small clip of Robert Rodriguez talking to prospective film students where he reiterated a well-known cliche: People can learn the technical side but can’t be taught creativity, you’re either born with it or you aren’t. Some days, I feel like my brain is going so fast that the fail to keep up with the technical side until I reach a spot where I’m stuck. It’s like I’m warping to the last level and then I start learning how to play. I feel like I’ve been faking it until I make it my whole life. Whether it was pretending to read that classic Jane Austen novel for a report, or taking a photograph. It’s been the story of my career thus far. Most people are surprised at how long I’ve owned a camera.
I couldn’t help but keep thinking about motion pictures on my walk. Pairing music to cinematic scenes in my head. I feel like everything I’m doing now is practice for the next stage of my artistic endeavors. It’s the ultimate creative outlet giving life to everything in the world I find beautiful: music, writing, drawing, photography, lighting, and acting. Some of these things I’m alright at, some things not so much, but I learn from each the more I do them. This tie to Stanley Kubrick may only be minor, but his beginning in photography and the way he is expressed in his films speaks to me. I can’t help but think 29 years led me to this realization, and what will 29 more mean?
I’m excited to give movie-making more serious consideration in the Spring. I would also like to make a purchasable book, featuring small photographic stories, that one could have on their coffee table. I’m not certain if there is any interest in my work in that arena quite yet.
I have no idea where it will lead me, then again, I had no idea where photography would, either.
Liz at Ocean Beach, California.