Posts: Thoughts On Things

Sharing my opinion about photography, art, and general topics…

All the Information

Posted January 30, 2019 in ... Thoughts On Things

I’ve learned quite a bit during my years of photography. I’ve learned how to set up and expose a photograph so that I can capture almost all the information that my camera and lens is capable of capturing. The equipment has become, in fact, the real limitation on the information I can get out of a scene.

Still, when it comes down to it, the megabits of information doesn’t really matter that much. I need to remember that the next time fancy equipment beckons. Capturing detail is not the reason I photograph. Communication of meaning, emotion, and feeling is the real point of my photography.

In an expressive art, it’s not the bits of information, it’s the bits of soul that matter. And thankfully that isn’t found in a camera or lens. It is found deep inside though. And I still need quite a bit of improvement there.

Outside the Box

Posted January 15, 2019 in ... Thoughts On Things

Many people question the need for art. It isn’t necessary, they say. We can lead full and thoughtful lives without it.

We, as humans, categorize and order our world according to rules we develop from within ourselves or inherit from others. We learn to put everything in its place. If I say the word, “elephant,” I’m sure that we all think of the large grey mammal with a trunk, large ears, flat padded feet, and leathery skin. Since childhood we are trained to put everything “elephant-like” into the same “elephant box”.

Such a process is good for us as individuals. We don’t have to reinvent the world every time we open our eyes. We can make sense of the reality around us.

But there is a downside to this type of thinking though. We come to believe that our way of thinking is the way the world actually exists. We righteously assure ourselves that orange and pink elephants don’t exist. We soon fail to see the world from other perspectives, and forget that we make decisions based upon self-imposed boxes.

And so many of our problems stem from that.

We need artists — independent-thinking and even one-eared artists. Because they paint stars swirling wildly in the night-time sky and yellow-green faces. Because they create the art of our dreams and nightmares. We need those types of art, and all Art … to wake us from our self-assured slumber.

And then maybe, just maybe … we might notice an entire herd of orange and pink pachyderms … grazing in the glow of the setting savannah sun.

Art reminds us that reality lives and breathes outside the box.

Thoughts on Moving

Posted February 10, 2017 in ... Thoughts On Things

My wife and I recently relocated. And as I deal with all the minutiae that moving entails, I find myself reflecting on the meaning of what it means to move.

I realized that I have always been moving. Occasionally, the move is physical. But more often the move is emotional or mental.  Life moves on.

It reminds me of a story by the essayist Loren Eiseley that I re-discovered recently. He was on a train late one night and noticed a gaunt man sleeping in a nearby seat, holding a paper bag.  Thinking that the man was homeless, he watched with interest as the conductor entered the car yelling, “Tickets!” The man stirred and opened his eyes. Slowly he reached into his pocket and pulled out a wad of money.

Perhaps surprised by the turn of events, Loren Eiseley then overheard the unlikely words spoken by the man:

“Give me,” he said then, … “give me a ticket to wherever it is.”

Whether the man knew or not, his words were profound. And although Mr. Eiseley’s point may have been a bit different than mine, each will find their own meaning in this (or any) story. And so I’d like to suggest the following:

We each find ourselves on a train that we call life. We don’t know the destination. We don’t even know if there is a destination, or when we might arrive.

It’s all a mystery — a mystery that we all experience. Our individual routes may diverge, or cross, or even run parallel. But try as we might to lay our own tracks, other forces will conspire and interfere to redirect our route.

Nonetheless we will each discover a unique set of rails being laid out in front of us, travelling through both wondrous and fearsome places.

Take your ticket — it’s time to move on.  We may not know the details of the future, but you — like me — are heading out to “wherever it is.” As for me, at this moment I am enjoying the view. Maybe I’ll see you at the next station.