This post may ruffle a few feathers but it is something that has really been eating at me lately so I am going to just say it. I'm not one to air all my grievances and complaints online. I just don't. Does it mean life is perfect? NO WAY! Do I ever complain? YES. I just complain to my friends and my family (I am in NO WAY knocking anyone who does air their stuff..to each their own). Am I fake because of this? Well ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I am NOT fake at all…not a phony bone in my body. What is real? Is there such a thing as a "real" image? You hear this term used as a description of lots of photographers and their images. I think that is a matter of opinion. Yes, some images feel more "real" to me than others but what is real to me may not ring true to you. I have a pretty good life. I don't have a lot to complain about. Hard things have happened in my life. I have had to work hard at many things in my life. I have struggles and frustrations on a daily basis. but I also have SO much good in my life. I am happy. I always choose to focus on the good vs the negative. I don't like to concentrate on my struggles. Is this fake? Am I living a life that is glazed over? Not in the least. That's just me. That is how I have always been. I like being happy. I truly believe that your life is what you make of it. You can't control other people and the circumstances that you were born into but you can choose what you do with what you were given. Does this mean I walk around all giddy and laughing all the time? NO! I can be quite impatient. I feel grumpy on a daily basis but I don't like drama and contention. I would rather feel peace and joy so I do things in my life that help me to feel that way.
Sometimes I show happy images. Kids are generally pretty happy beings when they are loved and cared for. Of course I am not denying the moody tantrums, drama, and meltdowns that come with kids…or teenagers and adults for that matter but happiness and joy aren't phony or glazed over emotions. I feel like there is a trend lately that in order to be "real", "raw", and "artistic" you can't show happiness or fun. I think there is space for all kinds of images…the happy ones, the sad ones, the raw ones, the beautiful ones, the gritty ones, and any other kind you can think of. There are a lot of photographers out there and a lot of different viewpoints. I hate when I see people put others into certain classifications. Can't we all be friends or at least respectful? Aren't we all adults? Do we really need to relive the junior high or high school years where you deicide what kind of person someone is by the clothes they wear or the music they listen to? Can't we appreciate images that are different from what we produce without thinking they are less than someone else's? You can actually learn a lot from things and people who are different from you. Who am I to judge if someone's images are "real" when we all have different realities? And let's just be REALLY honest from one photographer to another. We all manipulate something to make an image. Some of us may manipulate light, some may manipulate our subjects, but pictures will never be real life. They are creations of the photographer. I would venture to say that the very most hardcore documentary style photographer manipulates something to create a photograph. Now that is the most real thing I have said yet.
I'm just sort of sick of the "cool kid club" mentality…and the mocking. It repulsed me in high school and it still does. I know it's part of life…it's just a part of life I hate. Even though I don't want to hang out with everyone I meet, I have learned that even someone who totally annoys me has good qualities. I could probably learn something from almost every person walking this earth. I'm not saying this from a bitter place. I have always had friends from all different walks of life. I don't feel like it has been a struggle for people to accept me…but I have usually been pretty accepting, I'm sure someone out there could tell a story about me where I was less than kind. I am human and I know I have hurt people in the past so I'm not saying I'm perfect. I am not saying I have never mocked. I just wish people would be kinder and more understanding of different voices. There is no time for ego.We all have something to say.
I have decided to take the Facebook app off my phone, at least for now. I think as an industry and culture we are all a bit too obsessed with it all. I love Facebook and social media don't get me wrong. I am so so grateful for it and for the connections I have made and the opportunities that have come from it. I will still be checking it daily and posting like I always do…just no longer from the carpool lane or in the parking lot while I am waiting for my son to come out of basketball practice, or my daughter out of dance.I think we all need to stop worrying about who is collaborating with who and who's images are phony and glazed over. Yeah, I don't fall in love every image I see but I don't look at images I don't get and think "well that sucks" or "I am way better than that". We should all get off social media more often, stop comparing ourselves to anyone else, and go out and shoot something cool. Something that is personally meaningful and that ignites that creative flutter inside yourself. That's where the magic happens….enough said.
Now this is a photography blog right? So of course I have to show some more glazed over, happy images..
I kid. I kid….please don't take this post too seriously. It feels good to get this off my chest and I just felt like being "real", open, and honest about my thoughts. My intention is not to cause contention or bad feelings…just to slow down and think about how we treat the people around us…and believe me this post is preaching to myself as much as the next guy!