If we're serious about improving our photographic vision and Visual Peacemaking, we have to get past all the times we say, "if only."
If only I could travel to ______.
If only I had that lens or better _______.
If only I could work alongside _________.
If only I could work on assignment for ________.
By the way, I personally have several words to fill in the blanks here myself!
"If only" statements lock us into a quagmire of inertia. Or in other words, stuck at home thinking about or talking about art instead of out making art. We utter them when our environment becomes mundane, no longer stimulating.
No excuses. This is your vision fizzling out. It's your job to throw some fuel on it, spark it, and gently fan it into a flame that can again devour anything in it's path, seeing the light of beauty all around you.
I'm a big proponent of saying, "Cultural Photography Begins at Home" (a post by Jerod Foster). If we're going to be effective Visual Peacemakers who use photography to build bridges between people and their differences, then we must embrace this fact: Your own culture is misunderstood and feared by others, too. When you experience your own culture as mundane you miss out on visual peacemaking opportunities.
This is actually great news. It means your photography has a higher calling whether in your neighborhood or at some "exotic" destination.
Honestly though, isn't it harder to tackle the Muse at home, to be inspired? It can be for me. Now my "home" is Turkey. In 2005, Turkey was the "distant location." Not anymore. However, I'm learning now to see deeper into the culture and people. I will soon be photographically challenged to do this in my hometown, Tempe, Arizona, when I return for a few months.
Photo: Mario Mattei, Tempe, Arizona, USA. "How We Roll."
Guild member, David duChemin, recently wrote in his blog on the topic of losing interest in a familiar place, "The images are out there. It’s not the scenery that needs changing; it’s our vision of things."
His reason for addressing this topic is the same as mine today. We want to equip you to photograph life at home… because you love to!
Photogs, here is some tangible fuel for your vision fire:
The latest in the Craft & Vision eBook line-up is now out. Close To Home, Finding Great Photographs in Your Own Backyard, is a 37-page book about the challenges of finding the extraordinary in what we’ve come to see as mundane. Author Stuart Sipahigil is a skillful photographer who traveled to Italy with David last year.
I have a lot of confidence in Craft & Vision ebooks. I want to urge you to read this book because I believe it will both help you personally and the visual peacemaking effort. I know I'll be reading it asap!
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