Getting back out there
Our world is small. We see the same sights all of the time. Between our bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen and front lawn, there is nothing very interesting to look at and thus nothing interesting to photograph. That is our world. Be it the world that we believe we own, the world were we reside, that the world that we see. One of the things that makes photography great is seeing things that WE don't get to see. From a different point of view we might assume that everything around us is the same. Plants are plants no matter where they grow. People are people no matter where they may walk. Buildings are buildings, until they become parking lots. Roads are roads. The sky is always going to be the sky. Things are what they are, and there is no need to photograph things that will always be there.
That was my thinking when I was sitting alone in my home, with food in my cabinets, clothes on my back, warm air on my skin, a lock on my door and a place to rest my head. All the pillars of creativity where there or so I thought, but I didn't feel inspired to get out there and hit the shutter. The reason, I didn't have any friends that I could count on for support. I didn't have anyone there counting on me. I didn't have anyone depending on me for anything. For the first time since I had left home, I was alone. No one there with me to share my thoughts and fears. No one depending on me to be a provider. Nothing there but my
depression, anxiety and loneliness to tell me that the world is a dangerous place, and wandering around in it is an invitation to danger. Often I would entertain the idea of getting my camera out and getting some nice snap shots. Sometimes the idea felt like a challenge. Who doesn't love a challenge? That idea would be whisked away with the first passing cloud or the flicker of a light. I could be sitting on the side of the road, unable to move, cold, bleeding feeling the very life being drained from my body. No one would come looking for me. No one would miss me. No one would even notice I was gone. It would be up to me, and I would have failed. Just the mere mention of that sent chills down my spine. It was better for me to stay inside, wrapped in the covers, warm safe, watching myself go mad in the worlds of CNN, MSNBC, USA and CBS. At least this way I would be able to see the end coming. I would be warm, covered, with a full belly and no pain as I saw the end coming near. This idea was 'better' than the alternative.
The sun had already set. The sky was dark. The air was warm. I was out there, walking up the street, looking for something anything to show the shutter. I cant begin to tell you about the number of stories that ran through my head. The images of people on their last leg, limping, gasping for air as they were swallowed by darkness. To defend myself against this, I had a tripod and a camera. I walked from the residential street and through a major intersection. The lights that illuminated the street were almost blinding, when compared to the darkness of my one mind. At first I snapped a few shots, of the street. I captured the decorations that had been painted around the man holes and the fire hydrants. Then I moved over to the bike stands, where my imagination sparked. It was the way that the bike stand looked in the night lights that really caught my attention. I remember walking around them, looking at how they seemed to be caught in a race that would never end. One rack would be just inches ahead of the other. I snapped a few shots and then thought about moving to the alternate side before shooting some more. Then eventually led me to slowing the shutter down, just a bit to get more light in to the sensor, that led me to shooting the light rays.
It didn't happen over night. It started that one night. Even today my wife still urges me to get out there and shoot. She never demands that it be perfect, or that the images have to be breath taking. She doesn't require that the composition be drawing or the camera be level. She only asks that I practice my craft. That I get out there and shoot something. She did say that she likes the light rays. So as they are the things that are the most interesting to shoot that is what I am shooting for now. I still take snap shots every once in a while and I have the occasional person or company ask me to take some headshots or event photos. Had I listened to that little voice in my head I would never have picked up a camera again. I would have left the internet with only my shots of Concord Park in Harford County. What a tragedy that would have been?
Yes I had a place to stay, food in my belly, clothes on my back and a place to rest my head. What I needed was friends and people that care about me. We all need that. If you dont have it, if you are missing that need, you NEED to have it filled. Without it, you are just hanging in the wind. Waiting for what ever comes next to pass you by.