Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Chasing Childhood

This will undoubtedly sound a bit odd, but I have realized something about my work recently.

I rarely take photos with my legs in them.

I can not provide much clarity to this, other than I really don't think about it because most of the time it is irrelevant for the photo or the only thing I have to wear on my legs are a pair of jeans. This is not exactly what I envision when I think of what my character would wear, but since I do not have a wardrobe filled with assortments of 18th century pirate shirts and trousers or long trench coats, I've been in the habit of cutting off my lower half.

This image is particularly special to me in many ways. I re-did the photo shoot three different times. The first try I didn't like my locations (and some guys were watching me from a distance as I took photos of myself leaning forward into the wind with my arm stretched out to an indefinite position), the second try I didn't photograph enough photos of the surrounding area to composite in, specifically photos of the ground beneath my subject; apparently I thought he was just going to levitate from the rim of the photo instead of the ground beneath him.

So I went out into the world for a third time to create the concept I had been thinking of for months. Upon the outing of this attempt, the earth was very sodden and grey. Rain came down through most of the shoot, the air a wave, the ground a sea. It was a beautiful thing really, alone in a field, the silence flooding my senses, clearing my head for a heart beat or two or more I can not tell. All was good.  

I will say that I was sort of desperate to create this photo. The idea was so clear in my mind, but I wasn't sure if it would work at all. Hence the three attempts at it. But I kept at it, because I knew that to fulfill my vision, I needed to try again and again until it was right.

And now it is one of my most favorite images.

Nostalgia; a sweet thing. Rippled water and flower petals, blades of grass twisted by forefinger and thumb, the child under the cherry tree. Yet, it is a heaviness, a waited heart, a looking back, a tear stain, the twilight. I can not say when it came or when it left, but only when I noticed the scar on my shoulder, only when the blue moon came and went without a word and the grass ceased to wave. Things seem different now, notes long sung have changed forever, the east greets the west, a smear grows on the horizon.

Decaying away, yet chasing what was; a photo of memory.

I have been submerged in the middle of it lately, the reminiscing mornings in a sea of pillows and bed sheets, seeing life as it is now, but remembering what it was, the scar, the stain, the whisper; both the good and bad. Forever on our skin, forever in our bones, forever crossing the paths of our mind.

It comes and goes.

I have found that it is something to hold on to, to see it for what it is, that blue hue which tints my childhood, the smile and the shiver. Not a thing to run from, not a thing to wish different, but rather a thing to keep in your back pocket while traveling the long roads forward, and from time to time, take them out and throw them into the sky so they can dance with the stars in memory of what you have done and direct you to what you will do. 

 Psalm 32:8
 "I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;
I will counsel you with My eye upon you."

Sunday, February 12, 2017

In The Grey

There have been many times in these past days when I have thought that the limit of my words had simply come to an end, that the soil with which words sprout and bud and bloom to feel the sun upon petal and stem was simply too dry to cultivate anything of use. The sky seemed to grow dim, the nefarious grey setting into my joints and spine, suffocating the dexterity of my fingers. I felt alone among the silent words of a different language, lost in a confine I couldn't see; stuck.

I asked myself often if I had lost it. The creativity, the life to my work, the ability to keep creating and finding inspiration and writing it down, the wheel turning, the hammer ringing? Will this wall that I lean against break down or at least crack or at least fade so that I may see what it is I should say, see where my creativity has run off too, peak through the notches and splinters to view what I am supposed to be doing just over the wall. I have been told it will come back to me, told to hold my breath and wait, told that eventually the words will live again, that I have not lost creativity... But sometimes it's hard to see it so.

Sometimes it is hard to wait.

I am predisposed to believe them, for they are correct whether I think so or not, whether I see the sun or whether I look at the ground. Yet, as of late, I have been left wishing that I could convey everything I want to in words I do not possess, in a voice I can not command. Where do these words go when you can not find them? 

I do not know the answer.

So, I have learned then to live in this grey state, to explore it, to draw inspiration from it the way I know I must to survive, the way they have told me how. I know that we as creatives go through these things often, through the bricks and barriers, the churning over and the falling down and the getting up again... I know, I know, I know how it feels to be in the grey, to see the window and feel the breeze coming though, but being chained down or blind folded or buried or tangled... beyond reach.

So, If I can offer anything to those who have felt this way, it is this: that it's okay to not know what to say, to not know what to create, to not know how, and it is so truly okay to be in the grey, if that's what you need at this moment. The greys and the blacks and whites, the falling lower where the house is locked and the key lost, they are for learning, they are to teach you how to create when it's hard, how to take a break when needed, how to simply sit and stare out the window, and also how to pray from within the house, in the place of the unknown and silence.

For in the silence we hear God's voice. 

The photo below is of self blindness. I know that much, as I am usually aware of why I created the photo, but I have spent the past week wondering what else to say of it, what source of help I could give to people from it; yep, I was completely in the grey, looking around in that house behind the wall. And so I prayed and let it be, worked on what needed to be worked on and let God guide my mind to where it was supposed to go; I took my own advice, and, huh, it worked. Through this I realized that yes, it is okay to not know what to say, okay to wander through that house, but it is so important to know, above anything else, the why you created, to know the depth of it all even if it is just an obscure idea that is hard to describe in words, and to then create and see it before you in such a way that just makes you slip into a different world; that is why I create, that is why I share, and that is what I feel called to do. 

And don't worry, because from these things, the things that inspire you, the reasons of why you create, from there the words will come, the inspiration will return, for one of the greatest things I have discovered is that your ability, your inspirations, your creativity, it never ever leaves you. 

I promise it will return when it feels as if it has left.

For those in the grey, and for those who have chosen to follow along on my strange photo shoots and ramblings, thank you. I create for you and my King.