Streets of Philadelphia … A Visual Diary … Page 23 … Street … The Awakening

The weather is changing and so is the light. Here in Philly, it changes 4 times a year but I hear that this is not common for all the world. C’mon, youse weather changing peoples know I can’t travel all around to check to see if this is a fact. Not only does the light change but emotionally everything changes too. I get into this groove where I feel and see humanity being gobbled up by the environment. They seem kinda lost in time and space and not even being concerned about it. Maybe that’s what bothers me the most. The way we are indoctrinated into a society that is more about the political and corporate machine then about human beings.

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There  aren’t many smiling faces anymore. People wear their disbelief and disgust right on their face. This rubs off to others and more and more. It’s a virus of discontent and complacency that threatens our very life force and survival.

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All this brings a weight on the soul that has a cost we can not pay, we are helpless in the life that was appointed to us. What does this have to do with photography? Well, for me it’s what I see and feel and think about. I’m sure others do too and you can see it in their work. I know there are many that teach that photographs tell a story. I believe that and I think the story is not of the subject, nooo, the subject is telling the story about us. Our photos are our self portraits. Ok, to be fair, not one single photo could be a self portrait but…. looking at your work, that is the portrait of you.

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I used to think I was lost in my work. I guess the reason was acceptance. Yeah, o shit. I wanted all my stuff to be accepted by others. Then I had a revelation that it don’t mean nothing really, what will matter and always will matter is my acceptance of myself and my work. Now, all these years later, I still feel the same but the difference is, I am almost at the point that I accept my work and see the beauty in the intent of it. I still don’t and never will accept myself and I feel bad about that but it’s not got a chance of changing.

Have a blessed journey my friends………..

 

28 thoughts on “Streets of Philadelphia … A Visual Diary … Page 23 … Street … The Awakening”

  1. Love your work and your words seem to say things that I feel. You are my soul brother. I believe that is why we became friends. I may not know much about the technology of your art, but always enjoy the stories I imagine in your pictures.

    1. Pauline, not many words can express this. I bow my head to my soul sister and knowing she’s on the planet gives me comfort. Knowing your not yelling at me for not taking out the trash gives me comfort too. I leave that crap to that other guy that shares your bed. I just share your soul.

  2. Very deep. I guess with this article you managed to touch the senses of many photographers. Amazing how much it reflects my own thoughts. Great. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Roza. Nice of you to stop by and comment. It’s been said that we are all in the same boat. That may be true but I still think that we have our own seat on that boat. That’s probably the more interesting way to see the journey.
      Peace to you Roza, please stop by again.

  3. …. I wanted all my stuff to be accepted by others….

    This is my issue. And problem that I have had in my thoughts for a long time. I acted like this for couple of years by now and I feel like a fool. I was shooting the stuff, that would be liked (accepted) by other people. Almost as people would have “ordered” to see certain type of the image. I would deliver what I knew they would like. They would have liked it. And so on. I would not show pictures that I supposed would not be liked by others. Sometimes I would withdraw public photos from the online galleries when the reaction wasn’t as i expected (not liked so much). The reason is the fear of non-acceptance as you mentioned here…. But after all that, I felt empty, yes, images were liked (accepted) but I didn’t see any worth in them.

    The result was that I always delivered yet another cliche (stereotype) photo. I was even censoring myself during the shoot. Looking for the photo that will be liked. Now when I am looking at my older photos – they may be eye pleasing – but they turned to be all cliche in my eyes. I had a group of other people online who’s photos I admired – I thought – wow they make fantastic photos. I would love to do something like them. Now I see photos of my former idols differently, as a boring cliche.

    I am not fully recovered from this yet. I still check the popularity of my photos. I still worry about the opinion of people….

    1. Pavel, It seems that you speak for many others, including myself. I’m still writing about this and the new post will be out very soon. I hope people like what I write. I mean others have blogs also and I want mine to be as interesting as theirs. I even want those other bloggers to like my stuff. I need to take my meds and I hope they work for me as well as they do for others. I know many benefit from these meds and I just want to see if I can too.

      The cycle goes on and on. I guess it’s just important to recognice the craziness within ourselves and accept it. I say that I think this is right but that does not mean I have adopted this or accepted myself. it just means……………

      1. When you don’t have money, you want them a lot. When you have lots of money, there is no sense to have more. Child always wants other child’s toy.

        There are individuals, that reject or don’t care about other’s opinion. But for whom are they, lets say, taking photos? For themselves? Why to take photos and not to show it to other people? Andif we decide to show a photo publicly, we automatically await a reaction. Something. And of course we hope in positive feedback and acknowledgement.

        There is a guy I know from Flickr and Tumblr. We discussed this thing already. He says. I am happy with my photos, but I have no audience. Not many people looks at his photos. He is convinced and self-conscious about his photos, but he didn’t receive acceptance.

        1. It’s the way it is Pavel.I have been trying to be accepted by my wife but alas, I fail all the time. I don’t think the problem is in the acceptance of photos. That’s the easy part to deal wit. The real issue is in how we deal with rejection or worse, no opinion at all.

          If we develop a way to deal with rejection then when something meets approval for the masses of asses, we get to analyze what and why the photo meets the standards of the crowd. Whats really important and especially for your friend, is learning how not to be complacent with what your doing and how not to place that importance on others viewing your work.

          Believe it or not, they have the same issues.

          1. I know. They have similar issues, but not everybody.

            “analyze what and why the photo meets the standards of the crowd”

            As I have it – I had very well analyzed a question “why the photo meets the standard of the crowd”. Of “my crowd”, I add. It is in connection in what I was writing in my previous comment. I know what “my crowd” likes because I was observing their likes. If I got approval from the crowd, I was walking further in that direction. So I know already what type of photo is going to be liked. In particular, they liked colors, warm subtle light, precise composition, mundane or ugly thing shed in a beautiful way. They loved to discover beauty in mundane things. At some point, I realized this direction is an empty and shallow. And so I started to show different stuff. that I feel is a way to go for me. And what about the crowd at this point? They

            Analogy with music. When a music band plays soft pop for years and than, they suddenly change a direction and start playing alternative rock., what happens with old fans. Some will leave. Some new will appear.

            But “standards” of crowed are only that “standards”. Standard is cliche. Usually, they want to see something beautiful or awesome. Rarely something serious, contemplative or alternative. And that’s where I wanted to aim. That kind of fear I had in my mind.

          2. Pavel, the thing is how I see it…..you can’t trust a friend to be really honest with your work. It’s hard enough to get a real true view from another shooter. I mean you post a photo and do you really think your friends would hurt your feelings by saying it didn’t work or they didn’t relate to it or like it? So this leaves us in the position of doubt.
            Then again you go to like 500px and get hammered because they think it’s cool to rip you a new ass even tho’ they have no idea what’s going on. So who do we turn to?

            Trust yourself and take it all with a grain of salt. The work must stimulate you above and beyond anyone else. If you are in love with the image, the hell with the bastards, what do they know anyway.

          3. I agree with you. I would love to adopt the idea “the hell with the bastards”. I tried. But I wasn’t able to.

            Let me explain how I started with Flickr (and later on with Tumblr and similar). So what did I do before Flickr? About 10 years ago, I was publishing my photos on photo-servers in my country. People there were not very polite and I would receive strongly negative critiques on everything I showed. No, it wasn’t my fault, it is is how Czech internet culture is. People would tell you, that your photo is total crap. Not many newcomers would handle it. I didn’t. So I stopped publishing photos on internet, and since I didn’t have anybody to show my photos, I stopped shoot at all. I would just photograph family celebrations and snapping during trips and vacations. I tried many local servers, but with same effect. I took their critiques very personally.

            After many years of not being so active with photography, I found Flickr. I remember how happy I was when i received couple of positive comments. I was happy. I started to shoot more. I was getting better. I was very motivated to go out (I still am) and shoot some good stuff. I got the reward and approval from people and than I would go out again. And gain. It worked well that way. It worked until moment, when I stated getting tired of Flickr “well seen and framed or “excellent shot”. Tired of the pattern – I comment your photo and you will comment mine. I tried to get out of this stupid circle, but I didn’t find it doable for me. As you mentioned, they are “friends”. So if they give feedback on my stuff, I feel impolite not to reply same way, And when I didn’t do so, I felt bad about it. I also thought about leaving Flickr and similar communities. Or perhaps, start with new Flickr account? Or return to Czech serves. I tried, they are still very negative these people.

            What do you think about Flickr? I se you post there, but you don’t involve much…?

          4. Pavel
            Any time you want to chat about your work, I offer my time and whatever. Imay not be able to see my own work clearly, but sure can see others. Just let me know.
            don

          5. Sure Pavel. Ding taught me many things and one was to be able read and feel photos. His spirit will be with us, I assure you of that.

          6. I already feel better with photos I had taken and uploaded on internet in last week or two.

            And with the new way of shooting…i feel right.

            Social media feels like burden.
            I am re-thinking my online presence and activities.

            I appreciate all your help. You help me a lot already…

          1. It wasn’t accurately expressed thought by myself. I talked about overcoming fear when you are posting your photo publicly when you know in advance that it is not going to win “pop music hit-parade”, but you somehow want to show it to the world.

  4. Thanks for sharing your feelings and your work Don. Indeed … Fall is upon us (at least some of us) and it is a time of changing seasons, changing light, and emotions. Hope to get out and take advantage of this great season … maybe get at least a few good captures. Take care out there!

    1. Jordi, we are friends now and I call upon you to just say this to Tanya. It won’t make any difference to her but it’s a lesson in futility…..

  5. It’s so true about not really seeing smiling faces anymore. People, myself included, have gotten a lot more depressed and bitter over the years. It seems like we’re all either rushing to get somewhere or trudging back home after a long day. When you said that your work is a self portrait of you, I had to look at my own work and I saw that you were right. There were a lot of suspicious looks or serious faces.

    1. Tina, you are right….you are suspect. Suspect of revealing parts of your inner Tina in photos. We all do that, well not make Tina photos but we make our own. What I like about your vision and work is that you seem more connected or maybe more aware of that connection in your work and life. It’s that I see photos of a pretty woman, it’s more that I can see some inner workings of you in the photos and the struggle to connect your self into the world around you.

      I don’t know if everyone sees that or even cares but I do and it’s a pretty picture Tina.
      Bless you …..

    2. And I thought people in US still smile on each other. Here these empty faces has been a standard since ever I remember.

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