- Posted by +Debra
My lovely sister moved to South Korea last year, to teach English, explore SE Asia, and eat Korean BBQ till she couldn’t stand it. She also went to evolve, grow, learn, and become a fuller happier person. Now she didn’t need to move all the way to Korea to do that…well maybe for her she did. Maybe for me, my steps to evolving, growing, learning, and becoming a fuller happier person involved having a baby and staying put. A baby will certainly make you change. In a lot of ways. It’s not like overnight you become responsible. It doesn’t mean you morph into a happy person, nah, it means you morph into a sleep deprived hormone ridden parental figure, but maybe happier is in there somewhere. Just kidding. I love my child, and the changes he has brought to me, my boyfriend, and our home. A new baby has invoked an evolution that is at once harmonious and choatic. There have been a lot of changes in me and my photography since I was an intern last summer.
Nobody ever stays exactly the same, because we all have to adapt to our constantly changing lives. So my sister now lives in a town where she is literally the ONLY ENGLISH SPEAKER. Like really, nobody else is a native English speaker. She had to say good bye to in depth debates about philosophy and detailed cooking instructions on your cereal box. Now she communicates with hand gestures, body language, and broken run on sentences with Korean and English dancing playfully and resulting in ideas and good intentions that are readily misunderstood instead. Now that she is living in Korea, I realize that it is better she is there and not me. I would be so lonely without a lot of people to speak with. As an introvert, I need people. As an extrovert, she can handle the loneliness. I know, sounds backwards, but just wait we will get there. You will understand soon.
See years ago, I obtained a degree in Linguistics with the intention of living all over the world teaching English to kids and exploring places with my camera. The Universe decided differently the day I met my boyfriend. The irony was that I wouldn’t date him until I finished my final year in college, maximum course load will do that to you. So when I did finish, then I started dating him, still with ideas of traveling everywhere, but we clicked. I was hooked, and now several years later we have a beautiful son. I live in America, collecting memories, creating images, and caring for a 7 week old baby. My sister, she lives in Korea teaching English, exploring new countries, and learning about philosophy and holistic health.
She is learning, growing, and evolving. So am I. So are you. Part of her learning comes from her Chinese medicine doctor, her closest friend in her town, and also the influence of Bhuddism on Korean culture. She is learning completely new coping strategies for her past, present, and future. I am learning how to direct wedding parties, juggle 4 lenses during a ceremony, change batteries with one hand and no eyes..and of course how to burp babies, change diapers, and rock a fussing child as a sleep walker. I used to be the one who tore apart philosophy books, ranging from Quinne and modern materialism to Bhudda and the fact that everything changes. While I was a bookworm, she was a nanny and hanging out with little people singing songs.
Our lives have flip flopped in a way so that we may learn and grow. We both needed to evolve, and our lives evolved within each others sphere, so that we could be there to guide and support one another during these growth spurts. That’s exactly why we are sisters, and exactly why our lives are the way they are. Now you see why we need life long relationships and opposites in our lives. They force us to change, to grow, and to be different and to be better.
So what does this have to do with photography?
At least with my photography.
It is a preface to understanding why the pictures from this junkyard shoot are SO DIFFERENT from my junkyard shoot last year. It is because I have evolved as a photographer. One of the concepts my sister explained to me recently was that the mind, the deepest part of the mind doesn’t accept negation. The psyche knows, and it knows not. If I say to you, “don’t think about the red elephant in the corner” what are you going to do? You are going to envision a red elephant in the corner. To make a deep and meaningful change in your way of thinking, you have to remove the concept and replace it with a new one.
So if I decide, “I want to be a powerful storyteller, a creative photographer, I want people to feel from my images. I want to stay with them long after they have turned the page.”
That is a big statement, and a big decision. I have to remove concepts from my psyche that would hinder these truths from being a reality. I have to remove concepts that are just as big and demanding as that statement. Fear of failure, an inability to try new things, following the rules other people have established…these are concepts that would hinder creative story telling with an emotional and lasting reaction. These are the concept that I am working on removing from my thought process.
This means that “fear” and “failure” can no longer a part of my vocabulary. There is only “try” ,“keep changing” , and “do something different”. These recent junkyard photographs from Old Car City show that there is a change to me, and a new maturity to my photography. It shows that I am an evolving creative person.
The biggest irony of these shots is that I had convinced myself that my natural light photos would never be as good as my strobe focused shots from last year. I tried to set myself up for less success, I hemmed and hawed because my batteries weren’t charged. I pouted in the 95 degree weather, and sweat in the 100% humidity under the trees and amongst the rusted cars. My superficial mind didn’t want to accept that my image making success could be possible without the fancy tools. My psyche knew differently, and thankfully must have been controlling the camera while my outer self was throwing a (mostly silent) tantrum. The few strobe shots I got are not my favourite, while they look nice, they don’t speak to me as intensely as my natural light shots.
It makes me think what I can do and accomplish if I accept and focus on positive change. What can be accomplished when rules of composition are bent, when new styles are tried on for size. How diverse can I be as an image maker, memory collector, and story teller? For once I didn’t center the subject, I didn’t take the same picture over and over and over again until it felt just right…instead I moved a lot, I worked at it, and worked at changing…until it started to manifest art. It’s good to know the ground rules, to be able to guarantee the safe delivery, but it is the ability to deliver the unique and amazing that will make my statement become a reality.
– Posted by +Debra