This Winter is Tugging at My Heart-Strings
The month since my last post has been trying - a beginning, in order to re-examine my understanding of self and identity, of comfort and love, of all those things I take for granted, sorrow and joy. A friend once told me that he believed there were only two true emotions: joy and sorrow. I'm not sure I believe that, I'm not sure that he would say he does either, but there is something beautiful to me about that statement: that we reside somewhere on that spectrum, dangling somewhere between the two. Both are indecipherable; I lack the ability to clearly know where I am on that spectrum, at least until reflecting back on memories. How intangible and deceiving memory so often is. I find it easier to look back on a period of time as if it were something other than it was in that moment, as if who I am now changes what was then.
Photographs are equally deceiving: they alter the memory of place, time, sound with a two-dimensional representation. A photograph needs to capture pieces of that experience that aren't there, may never even have been. What it then communicates is of course inherently different than the experience; it's instead the reflection of what we as observers bring to it. We infer our own joy or sorrow, sound, smell, and fury.
It occurred to me recently, while hiking around for a job, something that is so easy to overlook but I think necessary to better communicate a sense of place through a photograph. It's easy for me to be walking along a trail, a city street, a country road, and not turn around or simply veer from the direction that I'm heading. It's simple, and still, easy to forget that everything has a new face from another vantage point. Hunkering low to the ground, climbing up a fire escape, changing a portrait's angle, new light lingering on brick, a mountain ridge coupled by a withered tree; these things bring new stories. You veer off the trail and the same subject tells you something new.
Winter seems like a good time for me to turn around and gain a new perspective. It's easier to pause in the cold, turn around, take in something different than what I would expect. Rather than trying to capture images as I expect them, or clarify where I am on some arbitrary spectrum, this winter I need to try new things, make myself uncomfortable, see and experience a bit differently: personally, professionally, photographically.