If our lives were an image, would it be Art? Pondering this, I release the camera shutter. A unique moment spanning no more than 1/250th of a second. Encompassing hundreds of miles worth of terrain reflecting light from the cosmos at 670,616,629 miles per hour. Colors, hues, saturation and contrast, the perceptions of our biological sight decoding the surface density of elements. The scene captured as electrons on an SD card, or as a chemical reaction upon a frame of film. If our lives were an image would it be beautiful?
I know I'm cheating! Landscapes are awe inspiring, vast expanses of natural wonder. These images genetically tug at our instinctual longing to explore. A cryptic strand of wanderlust stored deep within the code of our not so distant (hunter gather) relatives. Our more recent kin embarked upon wooden ships set to a horizon of mystery. Or stepped into a module wrapped in little more than thick foil to be thrust into the voids of space. But why do we feel this need to explore?
If my life were an image would it be Art?
Perhaps you're thinking...wait isn't this a photography business page? Why am I reading this? To be honest I don't know why anyone reads anything I write! I'm a total moron! I was building this site and found a blog plug in, and boom here you are looking at pictures, and helping with my SEO search engine optimization. Yet I digress
What began as an obsession with the mechanical complexity of antique cameras, like film, has developed into a passion for sharing stories. There's a magical effect, an instant of engagement through the lens where we share the splendor, and sometimes the suffering, of a moment. Even in a planned model shoot with studio lighting and strobes there are times when something beyond explanation seems to occur. Moments often brief, when the mask we wear to protect ourselves, fulfill expectations, or define our self value, drops, revealing authentic beauty. Not a beauty of cosmetics and symmetry, nor the beauty of youth which is overtaken by time, gravity, and cell degeneration. No, this beauty is so much more.
There's wonder in the infinite smile of children. A splendor in the shyness of a bride as she prepares. An excellence in the nervousness of a groom fumbling with the words to define the feelings he so easily expresses through his gaze. A father holding his daughter, seeing his wives strength of will, and his kindness, in her. There are few things greater than this and I get to experience, capture, refine, and share them.
Often times people ask how I made them look so good. To be honest there are a few trade secrets and tricks, but mostly it's not the camera, the flashes, strobes, or even the editing software. It was them letting their guard down. For brief instances that mask slipped and they were themselves with no apologies. The smile of their childhood slipped out, and they let us see the trickster, the magician, animal lover, shy, dreamer. The lawyer taking professional studio shots slipped and showed the camera his authentic smile.
Sometimes during a couples session they look at one another and there is no doubting their love. A camera like light and time is indiscriminant. Although there is an artistry and craft to skilled photography, even the likes of Ansel Adams and Alfred Stieglitz couldn't capture something that wasn't there..
That image of Lake Tahoe is comprised of 20.9 million pixels, each pixel potentially a different color, hue, or shade. On that beach, in the company of a few geese it hit me. Our life images are the collage and composition of millions of pictures. Perhaps that need to explore and expand, drives us not only to build and invent, but at times to oppress. In the pursuit of success is your image filled with 20.9 million manipulations, exploitations, and loop holes. Cosmetic beauty and charisma, the ability to lead, 20.9 million chances to help guide and encourage. But perhaps you're using it to climb the social ladder, achieve a position of prestige, or flaunt a wealth you may have done anything to achieve.
Years of funerals, and hospital visits as a vocational minister taught me some very important lessons. Our lives are an image, and it will be hung above us. It will be said at our funerals, our stories will be spoken by those who remember us. If you don't like what it looks like you still have millions of opportunities to make it better.
Each moment lived, word spoken, text typed, physical touch, 20.9 million opportunities to make a beautiful piece of art. 20.9 million chances to be kind, to respect people, to show love, to make a image of authentic smiles. 20.9 million opportunities to lower that Mask