Sunday, June 26, 2011

The old days lead to the new days.

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In 2005 I lived in Bellingham WA for about a year. I was working as a photojournalist/reporter right around the time that newspapers started crashing and burning (figuratively) left and right. Needless to say, I was a newsman for less than a year, but during that year I was given the opportunity to take a lot of street portraits, and as I did I became more and more enamored of people, of faces, and in general of the beauty in the world which so often goes unnoticed or at least under-appreciated. I had been trained as a photographer when I was a kid, but having a new digital, plus a "license" to shoot: "Excuse me, I'm a reporter with the Whatcom Independent, do you mind if I ask you a question. . ." opened up a whole new world to me. In my off time I also pointed the camera at every bird, bug, flower, plant that I could, or in general, every instance of interesting light cast upon anything which struck me as beautiful. A short time later I was shooting live shows, especially "Poetry Night", "The Cody Rivers Show" the odd live band that I came across, plus a few after hours candids in bars and burrito joints around Bellingham. It was a pretty lively time, until I discovered my photos being copied and posted all over the internet without my permission, and that getting paid for my work in most circumstances was a whole other story. Live and learn.

Years later now and I find that I don't have as much enthusiasm to shoot just about anything in sight. In some ways it's a good thing, and the lulls in inspiration often lead to change and growth as an artist-- out of necessity. You're going to be miserable or you're going to grow. There's no use in pretending that taking yet another photo of a bird or a sunset is exciting to you if it really isn't anymore. You have to change. Everybody is different of course, so while I may be burning out on landscapes, the next guy is just getting warmed up, and a month or a year later I might be seeing landscapes through new eyes, but only if I'm honest I think, and heed my own muse now, even if it means putting one or two things down so that I can pick up fresh elsewhere.

I've been looking back through some of my older stuff too, and I find that this leads me also. What did I do that I forgot about since? Where did my wonder used to be? It's all there if you look for it, including "gems" which somehow slipped through the cracks. Dust them off and have another look.

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