I seem to get intoxicated with life on the streets and then it has a flavor of just life. See the streets are life but life is not only the street. Remember that. It means you can make photos of any damn thing you want and it’s legal and ok to do it with intent. I remember being in Nam and we were on a mission to check around Chu Lai base perimeter from the outside. I wanted a smoke, didn’t have a lighter so I asked Sgt Biggie for a light. He tosses me a Zippo. Listen, a grunt ain’t no grunt ain’t got a Zippo. So I lite my smoke and then look at the lighter. It was silver colored but tarnished with blood, sweat and tears. On the lighter was an inscription that read….“For those who fought for it, Life has a flavor the protected will never taste”. I instantly grokked that and I remember it as a memory for living.
Margaret Bourke White is quoted as saying…..“No eyes ever will, nor ever shall, see what I see now.” Well, She was a grunt in photography and all grunts grok her words. She was a warrior in life and her words equal for photographers what the grunts words mean for the Infantry. See, the point is that we must be warriors in life. As photographers we must do our work without fear of acceptance or rejection by others or by ourselves. We do our work because we must. We don’t define our work, it defines us. It makes us who we are and shows us the way to become who and what we strive to be.
Maybe you are the person that doesn’t take your photography serious. That’s fine and I hope you are satisfied with what you are doing. I see it kinda like this but it’s not a solid vision because it changes as time goes on. Who are we responsible to with our work. I don’t mean a job like weddings etc, I mean our real work, the work from the heart and soul, our personal work. When you release the shutter are you thinking about where the image will go and where and who will see it? Will they like it. Will they accept it and will they accept you. If they do accept you, will they always? The hardest part of our process is to see our own work. We have a tendency to want to please others and also want to be accepted. That’s all very nice but if it’s effecting your work, and it is, it becomes a problem quick. The thing is that we are effected by input and that in turn effects our output. The worse part of input is when it comes from inside us. That’s the stuff that has the strongest effect on us because it’s self generated and we have little control over it.
Here’s a quick thing I realize, I need to express more about this. I remember my Mother asking me why I did so much photography and how I loved it all my life. I told her that when I die and am on my deathbed and THE LORD comes to me, I will say that I lived the best life I could and that I am ready to go, I wouldn’t mind some more time but I’m ready. This moment can happen for me at any second and I feel that.
I think the fear in living is dying. The you get to the slab and lay there naked and you realize, OMG, I wasted my life. I should have done this, and that…………..
What this means in photography is that you come in alone and you go out alone. It’s your camera and your life. Make photos for you and if others like them along the way and maybe buy them or collect them, wonderful, but if that’s why you made them. That’s a waste of love and life.
Who Loves Ya Baby…………