When I attended my very first Photo Group meeting, my burning, soul-searching question to them was…
“WHAT do you DO with all the images you’ve got?!?!? We take so many pictures in this digital age….” I felt deluged, buried in an avalanche of digital images.
Looking around at one another with a vaguely puzzled look, they jumped into a lively discussion of their catalogues, storage, back ups, etc., etc. Now I was puzzled. I hadn’t heard of half the terms they spoke of, being the rank beginner I was, and whatever they meant I was certain it didn’t address the heart of my question. But I kept my peace, thinking I was just too green around the ears to understand.
Years later (I’ve lost track?), I’m still asking that question. In fact, it’s my favorite question to pose to new photographer friends. Often the reply is something vague, or sometimes it’s unusual, but almost always it generates a meaningful exchange because everyone is into photography for varying reasons. With some relief I can say I have gradually come around to answering it for myself.
Making pictures simply tickles my soul.
So it doesn’t really matter what I DO with them. It’s the act of making them that engages me, that wakes me up to that Connection with All. It brings me completely alive to the present moment. Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Big Magic) says it’s your soul after all, not your ego, that should be in charge of your life. Now I LIKE that. Because doesn’t that mean I can ignore my ego saying I should be DOING something with all these images (selling them, sharing them, making money with them because I spend so much money ON them), and simply make more pictures just because it tickles my soul?
I was telling my first Master in the Arcanum that I think I keep making images of the same scene from multiple views and in multiple ways because I have an insatiable urge to somehow CONSUME it. To integrate it into myself. Being a prolific photographer himself (he is a master after all), he laughed and said maybe that’s why he’s so fat…now that made ME laugh. He’s a funny guy, in fact his last name is Guy, but he’s not really fat. Still, I think I’d better watch the scales.
What tickles YOUR soul?