To be a photographer, one must photograph. No amount of book learning, no checklist of seminars attended, can substitute for the simple act of making pictures. Experience is the best teacher of all. And for that, there is no guarantee that one will become an artist. Only the journey matters.
it has been a while since i have found myself inspired at the tap of my computer keyboard. my typewriter hasnt seen much life either though, but my notebook is as happy as a clam. life has been spectacularly complicated and challenging lately, and my face often wakes with sore cheeks from smiling and laughing so much the night before. i feel somewhat alive again, which means what? i suppose i feel much more conscious, despite my lack of yogic exercise or any exercise at all. conscious of particular things… my life began again when i started making photographs all day again. it will take some time to adjust, it had been a while. distracted by the daily grind of making drinks for people too rude to even ask how anyone else is feeling. too rude to respond when i ask how they are. now i ask myself how i feel each morning, trying to stay on top of things and learning how to be my own boss (just go with the flow.) it feels like the first time, but i guess there are no repeats in life and i must re-learn this here task. wake up, drink something caffeinated, pick out and play a record, pet linus, open computer and stay focused for a few hours. afterwards, go outside. make more photographs. if i can manage to pay my bills by selling prints and photographing strangers, i won’t need much more to live on, i can spend the majority of my days with a camera and good company.
i spent the past week in south dakota, taking part in the ceremony of love of two of the most beautiful individuals i know, now together forever. we spent the days on the black hills wild horse sanctuary, and breathed the same dust as the natives to the land. dancing on the same ground as the sundance. i shot through countless rolls of film as my eyes filled with tears; the wild horses praying to the petroglyphs, the bride and groom running over the hill together, floating naked in the cheyenne, the incredible love of the family and friends that surrounded us…
i need to explore, to roam and adventure. i need a cabin in the woods with a creek running through it. wild turkey, horses, bison, birds… if you ever see my five year plan, finding land to sprawl out on is near the top. we shall see what the reality of that situation becomes. in the next few months you can expect to see the opening of my print shop, some new gallery shows, a few publications i will be sharing photographs in, and all of the usual daily photographs that i make. i am hoping to find myself traveling more, photographing more, and exploring more. no excuses, even if i only have pennies to my name.
[How do I do it?] Well, it’s always a mystery, because you don’t know why you get depleted or recharged. But this much I know. I do not allow myself to be overcome by hopelessness, no matter how tough the situation. I believe that if you just do your little bit without thinking of the bigness of what you stand against, if you turn to the enlargement of your own capacities, just that itself creates new potential. And I’ve learned from the Bhagavad-Gita and other teachings of our culture to detach myself from the results of what I do, because those are not in my hands. The context is not in your control, but your commitment is yours to make, and you can make the deepest commitment with a total detachment about where it will take you. You want it to lead to a better world, and you shape your actions and take full responsibility for them, but then you have detachment. And that combination of deep passion and deep detachment allows me to take on the next challenge, because I don’t cripple myself, I don’t tie myself in knots. I function like a free being. I think getting that freedom is a social duty because I think we owe it to each not to burden each other with prescription and demands. I think what we owe each other is a celebration of life and to replace fear and hopelessness with fearlessness and joy.
Life moves on, whether we act as cowards or heroes. Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.
Sometimes, very quietly and graciously, you can inspire other people by showing them that there’s a different way and many perceptions of beauty. You may not be feeling it inside, but if you display it like you mean it, then it can give permission to be kind to ourselves and embrace our individuality.