Sunday, January 6, 2008

Mental Respites

You know the old saying, "Something is better than nothing."? And you know that some people like to insert the word "always" after "is" to enforce the idea that nothing is never good for you? Well, I like to insert the word "sometimes" at the beginning of the sentence to mean that often nothing is good for you.

Why? Because sometimes nothing or doing nothing clears the mind of the past with all the stress and tension you created. It frees the mind to be open to the whole array of ideas. And sometimes it's just a good thing to let your mind be still and open, or in some cases, empty of the present. We do this in our sleep and naps, let the mind self-medicate.

And that's what I do occasionally with my photography. I hate myself about not doing photography after awhile, but sometimes I have to let it go, do something else, and know eventually it sneaks back into my psyche to continue with it. Every good professional or commercial photographer would rail against this philosophy, but then they have the consistent passion and drive to do it. I don't.

And I know I have tried, and all I get is angry with myself, my work and the world about why I continue. It's part of the can't explain part of ourselves we don't understand enough and can't fix enough to get over. I only get through. And pick up the camera again to continue. Sometimes I have to keep saying, "It's about just doing and forget the results. Think about what you're doing, focus, and just take a lot of photos. Something will happen and spark, or respark, the passion."

And I know in time it does. After nearly 40 years of doing this, you'd think I'd find a way to resolve it. But maybe it's just one of those things about ourselves we can't. We're simply blind to our own being. And try as we can and do, we can't find a way to see what's happening, let alone get over it. This always seems to fly in the face of what people seem to advocate, "Just get over it."

Or as the Nike ad says, "Just do it." And we can look at all the successes who have, and forget the orders of magnitude who tried and didn't. It's in our national psyche, but it's not reality. Reality is that 99+% of those who try only get part way there. And photography isn't much different. It's about the many who are ordinary, the some who are good and the few who are great. And the reality is striving while keeping that in mind.

It doesn't mean we should quit. It's about the journey, and as long as we travel the road and try our best when we can, the rest is what is, and nothing more. And if we, like me, take respites occasionally, so be it. It keeps me sane and from wanting to leave the road altogether.

No comments:

Post a Comment