You know the kind of week. The where you think that you couldn’t get busier, you couldn’t get more stressed and then that one extra thing gets asked of you. You sit in your pool of unfinished projects, empty pizza boxes and discarded purple jelly beans and wonder where the extra 12 hours a day will come from to complete your 7000 page list of unfinished projects. Thoughts of a world where things were simple and stress free seem a distant memory away as you guzzle your 37th cup of coffee for the day in a vain attempt to fuel your barely your functional brain to fire that one one last operating neuron to produce at least a mild attempt at resolving the Mount Everest of unfinished projects.
So what the heck has this got to with anything other than having a good whinge about a situation we all find ourselves in? I am glad you asked, hang in there and you will yet again be regaled with a whimsical, mildly insightful solution that, as always involves a sultry brunette and some pithy commentary.
When faced with this monumental task I did what any fare minded person should do. I ignored it. Yep I simply walked away and spend a beautifully distracting weekend in the wilds of said brunette. The result. Did any of the massive workload get done? No. Do I care? Hell No, because the mountain aint so big no more (pardon the hill billy speak it was the time in the country that did it) when you have a smile on your face.
Sometimes when you look out to the world arrayed in front of you do you ponder all the activities, all the emotions and the all choices the people are making at that moment? Displayed in front of you is not only a scene but moments that will change the course of peoples lives.
What if all those souls going about their daily lives, made choices other than those that had decided upon? The result would be different world, a different life for them all.
So as is usual with my blog posts I have to drag the random assembly of words towards something relevant to something and of course, somehow involve that sultry brunette that frequents the cotton sheets of my imagination. Well here goes.
When you are photographing a cityscape you are capturing far more than an assembly of buildings and electric lights, you are capturing a moment of decision or indecision in the world. You capturing the moment when one decides the sultry brunette of your dreams becomes the one you wish to greet every day in the half light. You are capturing the beginning and ends of thousands of things, moments caught behind the concrete, steel and glass. Moments unique and unrepeatable. That for me is the joy of photography capturing things that are gone forever once they have been.
You know the kind of day, where you wake up not enthused by anything. You roll over, kick the rubbery eggs and soggy toast of the plate sitting on the end of your badly rumpled bed and crankily utter “its all been done before, there is nothing new to explore, why am I ever bothering”. Arising to the slate grey skies makes it no better, placing your moth eaten burgundy tartan slippers on your frostbitten feet doesn’t make navarna appear before your eyes, bloodshot from another failed attempt at gargling vodka as means to finding contentment. It aint exactly the stuff of fairy-tales is it.
So in the style of all my blog pieces, two things must occur, a reference to a sultry brunette and some pithy commentary mildly relevant treatise at the end to wrap it all up into something loosely resembling a logical conclusion. So here goes…
Recently the opportunity to revisit a life landmark place I hadn’t been to for many years presented itself. I had thought about going back there several times over the years but I couldn’t see how I would do things differently – I was still carrying the same perspectives, the same preconceptions as what I would see, do and photograph ( I told you I would make it relevant !). I was still seeing with the perspective of all those years ago, I couldn’t see how all these years later would be any different. However it appears I was an idiot, some things are always magnificent no matter how long its been – like the sultry brunette lying on the morning sunlight drenched cotton sheets in a pensione in Naples – and I had seemed to have missed one vital point. All the things I loved all those years ago were still fantastic with new layers, complexities, experiences to discover. My perspective had changed and with it the range of things I could appreciate. The older me had reconnected in a way that utterly surprised me.
So in I marched, prepared for a nice visit to former days and almost immediately I realised it wasn’t at all like going back to the familiar, it was like rediscovering it all again – a new perspective not only made it great again it had made it even better – I will even say truly fantastic. So don’t ignore your previous work, go back and see it with different eyes and you will be amazed how the yesterday can become your new tomorrow.
Images are full of the positives in the world, we are inundated with cheery views of flowers, puppies, smiling children and the eternally happy. However the world doesn’t work that way, many of the most striking images depict out darker, sadder moments. Photography as medium is perfectly suited to conveying emotion, the greater the emotion conveyed the stronger the image and there is nothing more emotional than the bottom of the barrell. Like all my posts I somehow always seem to reference that same things. However instead of channeling the beautiful erotic moments to inspire your creative output, this time its the difficult times. Yep, despair produces great stuff. Nothing gets the creative juices flowing than the low points. Sure flowers are lovely but dispear and malencholy have their place too. So celebrate the hard times and turn them into something great.
We all do it. Caught up in the seemingly never ending cycle of more, more and yet more followed by a fleeting wish for it to be another way. Then one day, you stand at the battlements, sabre, flag and beer in hand proclaiming, in a terrible French accent, “I have had enough. I don’t need all this crap”. For me the time came for me to pile all the furniture into a pile, set fire to it, all while badly singing tunes from Les Miserables because of two things. The first, alcohol and the second from the simple action of seeing somebody else getting simple, unreserved joy, from simply holding a tulip. Touching, I know.
So before you say “Stephen, what has this blog become? A soul clearing house unrelated to its stated aims of discussing architecture and..or photography?”. Jeez be patient….
What this dear person gained from this simple, yet beautiful flower (I am getting all emotional here) is simple pleasure without the trappings of a five story penthouse, overlooking the Rivera while sipping champagne from the navel of that sultry brunette I somehow always manage to drag into my blog posts. No Italian exotic car with an unpronounceable name in the subterranean lockup garage. Just simple appreciation of a singular beautiful thing.
Here we go, this bit might actually get relevant, but I cant be sure. My Jerusalem moment came after buying a new tool of trade, a black box with a lens, simple unadorned with little trickery. While it has plenty of bells and whistles , its the humming I am after. The simple things that make it so easy to make you smile. Then it you realise you have what wanted all this time, without all the complexity and fancy stuff. The result, a step forward into a simpler more satisfying view of my future world and what I need to make it so.
You know the feeling. You sit down for no holes barred, no expense spared, 7.500 course meal of the finest dining. A seemingly endless flow of plates displaying bizarrely cooked portion of some nearly extinct ungulate flots in front of you. Heavily ruminated mounds of partially digested yak fills your gullet as yet another plate of Latvian aardvark lips appears in the sea startlingly white plates. Halfway through the consumption of plate number 650, a beautifully prepared, freshly peeled liver of greenpeace activist – a vegetarian dish – you realise you would rather be eating pizza. Yep you would rather be forcefully, deliberately and passionately devouring a pizza.
Such it is photography. Recently in the quest to acquire a photographic device that would lift my images to level that would give me instant international recognition – yep I wanted a new camera, I explored the myriad of features now encased in the boxes of black magic that come from that centre of Japanese manufacturing excellence – Thailand. After hours buried in menus and features that for example, would allow me to take amazing images without me even being there, I decided what I wanted was warm enticing pizza, something simple, effective and downright basic. Something that brought the pleasure back.