Wednesday, May 30, 2012


So I've been feeling a distinct lack of mojo. I admit I've never quite gotten the whole notion of 'mojo', though; if you do creative stuff for a living you don't really have the luxury of waiting around until your 'mojo' is in good shape, you just keep going anyway. But nevertheless, I've felt so hectic, busy and scattered that I haven't had time to focus on much of anything. Creativity has been feeling pretty dried and cracked lately, so in a small attempt to reach deeper to find the ground water I'm starting a small new project (like I need new projects, but so what). Nothing big; actually it'll be focused on the small and daily. The idea is to just take a photo a day, of whatever strikes me that day. I won't be beating myself up if I miss a few days here and there, because what would be the point of that? I have enough things to beat myself up over already. This notion is smaller, kinder; to simply catch a moment on most days that otherwise I wouldn't savor. I'm really big on that notion of savoring the moments; I acknowledge that, I'll own that. I just plan to make an official spot for it in my everyday. It's certainly not a new idea; there are tons of similar projects that others have done, but I have never done it before.
Riley tried on a great top hat with steampunk hatband and loved it (from Pendragon Costumes)
Periodically I have well-meaning people tell me I should just put the camera down and properly savor the moments; that putting the lens between me and whatever is happening is a way of distancing myself from the action. If I'm shooting an event, that may be true because I'm focused on the job at hand, but I think I have a pretty good grasp of when it's appropriate to put the camera down. The bald fact, though, is that when I have my camera at the ready or at least with me, it reminds me to really look and see with an eye for shapes, colors, action, emotions, all of it. I find it enhances my experiences, rather than detracting. Whether it detracts from the experiences for the people I'm around I can't say, though the boys sometimes get annoyed at having a big lens pointed their way. More often, though, they want me to record some silly moment for them, and it unites us in recognizing that a moment has meaning that we want to remember.
It's not always a big moment. For me at least the smaller, sideways moments are the ones I like the most. Those are the bits where most people don't think to take any images, but in my mind they always, almost without exception, hold so much more meaning than the more formal shots where people are 'getting pictures taken'. Take Seanna for instance:
I've known Seanna since she was a tiny little kid. She's always been beautiful, as are all the women in her family. I don't get to see her very often anymore and when I do I like to grab some stolen shots just to sort of make sure her presence in my world gets remembered; she could so easily just flit through half seen and half remembered like an elvin presence sliding through this common world. Who knows when I'll see her again? And even if I didn't manage to steal some shots of her sister, I'll still be reminded of her too, and her mom who couldn't be there.
Then there's Amanda, here, always talking. I have the best conversations with her, and they're always changing, just like her, growing at a frightening rate. I suspect her bemusement at the boys' antics will remain a constant, but I still want to grab a few shots here and now. Freezing time. They're little time capsules, I guess. Snapshots are called that for a reason, and though the name has some negative connotations, it doesn't matter. I don't expect that these snapshots of mine will hold much meaning for anybody but me, but that's okay. I'm doing it for me.
How wild is it that looking out a window and seeing this is an everyday ordinary thing?
Jeff noodling around during rehearsal
Snapshots don't have sound or smells, of course, but they can really trigger them. You can't hear Jeff here doodling around on his guitar while he waits for Paul to find his lyric sheet, but he's idly playing a complicated guitar riff that most guitarists aspire to play someday in the distant future if they work REALLY REALLY HARD at it. You can't hear Maya quietly remonstrating with her IPad for not cooperating on scrolling lyrics at a reasonable rate. I'm not a video person at this point and I like the act of seeing and grabbing one image at a time, so I'm sticking with my camera. It's a purer form for me.
Snapshots: I cut off Paul's head, and actually I like it better that way. I had just gotten off the stage and grabbed my camera (still holding a harmonica) and turned and shot; you can't hear Maya's beautiful voice in harmony with Paul's or the guitars, but it sounds pretty damned good from right here.

I think I get to have a pretty extraordinary everyday, so I'm going to try to relax and savor it and go ahead and pick a shot from most days to just save them up. I don't know what if anything I'll ever do with the collection and it doesn't really matter if they ever have any other purpose; not every creative thing has to lead to money. I don't know why that's such a hard lesson for me, but I need room to just create cool stuff just because it wants creating. I need to feel that on a gut level right now.

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