Thursday, July 3, 2008
I'm clearly a long ways from being a commercial or professional photographer. I'm barely a serious one at times since I take vacations or respites from it for periods of a few weeks or, like of lae, a few months. And during my life after getting my first camera there are periods where I rarely used it over a year or two. In short, I'm not driven to be a photographer and do photography.
I like photography and taking the best photos and images I can when I shoot, but photography doesn't consume my life. It's always my deep regret when I do take breaks, but I find if I force the issue to try, I don't do very well and the photos or images turn out worse. And so I put myself in the catagory of being an ordinary photographer who does some good work at times. Good beiing in terms of professionals and fine art photographers where good is ordinary to them, meaning I get C's in their school of work.
Part of this is due to my genetic, lifelong Dysthymia. That's a handy excuse, reason or explanation, take your pick. I'll use one of them from time to time. My cameras now sits in my office, in two bags always ready to go, the 4x5 camera and the digital SLR. The older film camera bag is also ready to go but I transferred many of those small things you need (lens brush, notebook, etc.) to the digital bag, so it needs a little preparation before it's ready.
I often kid that the bags have feet and voices. They try to sneak to the door to remind me it's a good photography day or they start to sing tunes to remind me they're there, all ready and willing to do my bidding. And I know they gang up with the backpack in the closet for hiking stuff to create a chorus with the hiking boots, "A hiking we will go..." Lots of places to see and photograph.
And I know work on my photography guide for Mt. Rainier NP is to develop lists of places to go and photograph. And yet I don't, both go and photograph. And while I don't think I got the luck of the draw with my depression, I realize it's what I got and who I am, and I have choices. I can or can't, and in the end, it's the choice I made.
It's the old situation where facing death you say, "I wish I had..." But I won't say that because I know I did my best when I tried, I just didn't try as often as others did. We're all on the scale between nothing and everything, and there are always someone before us and will be after us who are to both sides of us, who did less or did more. It's the reality we face, one in many. And despite what those self-help advocates who espouse it, it's not always about trying, it's about being.
Photography is about looking and seeing. The capture and production process are also important but secondary to the primary reality that you have to go, look and see first. And that's what I've realized is what I lose, not so much the interest to photograph somewhere, something or someone, but the interest to go, to look or to see. One, two or all of these.
They simply fade into the background of my mind, to get lost among the many things and events in the world we face everyday and the many concerns, interests and worries we carry around and mull in our conscious and subconscious. Photography has to fight to be noticed and then fight to be in the forefront. Like the scene in the photo, a lot under snow, some stuff in the dark, some cloudly and rainy places, and some patches of sunlight.
It's all at once and the synapses for photography has to drive to the top, park and stay overlooking the whole scene in my mind to put everything else aside to do photography and be a photographer above all else.