Recently on the way to work I listened to aNPR article on Albert Camus on the nature of boring work as described in his the “Myth of Sisphysus”. I found the article fastinating and decided to read his book. Right from the beginning with the short preface to the opening chapter onAbsurdism, the book grabbed me and I am finding his work absolutely fascinating. It also makes me realize why he won theNobel prizeat 47. His writing is eloquent, profound and cuts to the chase.
So, why am I writing about this and what does this have to do with photography – the stated purpose of my blog.
Photography has been with me a very long time – since I was 15 to be exact. While I have taken more pictures than I imagine over the years, I have never really committed to a particular style or forte. My subject matter is varied and I know I’m good at some genres and not so good at others. Over the years I have come to accept that nature is the forte I always choose, particularly in the early morning and at dusk, especially in troubling times. What I have always struggled with is the why. I have never been able to truly answer this question and it has always bothered me. Conversely, I have wondered why I shy away from portraiture and street photography – I find both categories equality captivating, powerful, but have never really succeeded at either. And believe me, I have tried many times over the years.
I also know that until I understand the why, I will have difficultly truly capturing the spirit, the essence, the why of the subject I’m photographing. This conflict has caused me on more than occassion to cull negatives by the hundeds as I’ve wondered why, what was I thinking when I took this image. Then, there are those times I wonder why I even pickup a camera.
Reading “The Myth of Sisphsus” these past two days was an eye-opener. It began when I read the sentence “Beginning to Think is beginning to be underminded”. I hadn’t even finished the sentence in my mind when I immediately understood what was being said, the ramifications of that statement, the far reaching consequences. It made me realize that for years I had prevented myself from understanding, from grasping the essence of what was before me, what I was truly seeing, and why I had erected barriers to my quest for understanding.
It also made me realize that this was another depth of understanding in my personal jouney since the motorcycle accident in May 2011, the flashback to Vietnam in May of this year, and my much improved outlook in the past few months. More importantly, I have a better understanding of the why I have held myself back in my life and my photography.
The Zen of Nature Photography and Writing with Fountain Pens
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