Friday, June 6, 2014

Living the dream

When I started this blog in 2011, I used (and still do) the tagline "A rather indirect ramble through the aft end of life". However that's not been strictly true; in the last four years the blog has mainly been about my ramble in relation to photography and picture making. Yes, making pictures is a big part of my life - there are three cameras within arm’s reach (not including my phone) even as I write this - but there is more to this ramble than pictures. To be honest, I've been a little afraid. There are other dimensions to this back end of life ramble, but they tend to be more personal, more about the vulnerable 'me', the 'me' that would feel safer if it remained in the background. Those other dimensions might also be of no interest to others and bringing them up might only confirm that I have just become another 'boring old fart'.
Yet, unless I flesh things out a little more, the record of the ramble will be missing all the peripheral aspects that inform and motivate even my picture making. Life is so much more than a series of stationary images; what fills the gaps between? If the pictures are the 'what' everything in between becomes the 'why'. So, from here on, I'll still be posting the pictures but I'll try, when I am aware, to talk about the 'why' of things too, starting with this ...
Back in 2008 I turned 60. At the time I wrote “Sixteen or sixty” an upbeat reflection on why I was making pictures again:
Sixteen or sixty?  Say both words with less than perfect enunciation and they can be mistaken for each other.  And if, in my sixtieth year, I look at my life from the corner of one eye, I can almost believe that I am sixteen again.
“At sixteen my passion was photography. It was a passion played out on a budget, with cobbled together darkroom equipment in a bedroom blacked out with plastic sheets and prints rinsing in the bath.  It was a passion that I wanted to be a profession.  Perhaps I didn't want it bad enough but, in 1964, no one wanted an apprentice photographer and so I became a draughtsman in the construction industry and, eventually, migrated to the IT business. It paid the bills and served me well. “Somewhere along the road I married and, with the advent of a family, I lost the darkroom. As the family grew, my camera bags began to shrink and, as the equipment and spare time shrunk, so did my passion for the art of photography.  Then, around 1998, I laid hands on my first digital camera.  After a thirty-four year downward slide a ten year climb back started and now, in my sixtieth year, I am producing pictures again - perhaps not great pictures but good enough to be much better than those from 1964.
“In his "Last Lecture", Randy Pouche talked a lot about realising one's childhood dreams. He realised a lot of his before he died and he helped a lot of other people realise theirs.  And the point is this - its never too late - my dream may have had to wait for more than forty years, but it feels like I am sixteen again and loving it.
Back in 2008 life seemed to be all glitter and endless possibilities...
to be continued ...

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