I feel this morning just a wee twinge of fall in the air here in the Outer Banks of NC. Oh yes it is still summer, but I can feel and smell what’s coming. I won’t think winter yet of course but the change of seasons always makes one think things over a bit. Reflect.
The summer of 2013 was all reflection in my case. I took most of the summer “off”, stayed home, rode my bike, made prints in the darkroom, and had a summer I have not had since I can remember. Yup the summer of childhood. One of those summers we all tend to leave behind once “responsibility” strikes and we must all go to work leaving behind childhood fantasies and dreams.
Pretty funny I guess, yet I never bought totally into giving up the fantasy. For sure I did learn to accept at least some responsibility in life, yet I never could get those summer dreams out of my head. I have been hanging on to my summer dreams summer passion summer romance the whole damn time! I shouda coulda woulda followed all the rules I guess, but on the other hand the “authorities” have not yet come knocking on my door and arrested me for arrested development, ha ha.
Did I get away with the crime of never moving totally into adulthood? I think maybe I did. I am rolling down the highway of life and I don’t think they can catch me now, and I ain’t looking back.
Does this mean no reality at all? Of course not. I have had to deal with all the same realities as everyone else. Yet just keeping a piece of my bicycle dreams alive all along has allowed me to escape the doldrums of aging that I see so many people living. And I do not mean “old” people. I see “young” folks who lose the dream at 30. Or even before. Logically I suppose it is an age thing, yet I am not so sure.
What I see is that the dream can live or die at any age.
Photography for sure has saved me. With pictures I could always go somewhere all by myself and where nobody else could go or had ever been. A singular adventure. I discovered this at an early age, and well here I am with the same damned dream the same wonderment the same excitement of freezing a moment in time. So either I have gone nowhere all along or I am living in my imagination or maybe both. On the other hand, who cares or why the hell not?
Yesterday for example, I could not stop seeing pictures everywhere all the time. They seemed to be falling out of the sky and all I had to do was reach out and grab them. Nothing at all difficult to do. Gifts. So easy it was a little disconcerting actually. Now not everyday is like that, yet I do seem to have a lot of days like that. No idea why really. Oh no, I do not mean that everyone else is going to think I had a great day of shooting, but I don’t care about everybody else. It worked for me. And for sure that is the state of mind I try to get those I mentor to see and feel and believe and live.
After the success of (based on a true story) I had about 5 minutes of “job well done” pleasure, and then quickly moved into the space where one must be to move forward. We all need to move ahead in exactly the same way after success as we do with failure. “Failure” means you must get your act together and do something. “Success” means exactly the same damned thing. Actually it is even harder after success.
Now I am sketching all over the place. No rush. I am shooting some medium format b&w film, going crazy hourly with my iPhone, and playing with several different digi “serious real cameras”.. All work. While at some points in my occasional forays into “adult behavior” I did tend to lean linear, I am now thinking that a smorgasbord has every right to have a place at the table as a meat and potatoes dinner. Why would I let a camera or a technique or anything at all get in the way of just raw and fierce and passionate? Even if I am “wrong” it is all part of sketching. A process. And no way around it. This stuff cannot be “decided”.
I went off the straight documentary rails with (based on a true story). I hope nobody thought I could ever come back. How could I?
So now I am just a “boy on a bike”. Not a bad place to be.
As I sometimes do here on Burn, I ask a question of this audience.
My question this morning to you as I have my third coffee is: How do YOU set yourself free? You must have an answer.
(photograph above shot on Pea Island in the Outer Banks NC of “Tonico” Monteiro and Alexandra Lettrich)