The thing about printing your photos, is how it changes your perception of your own work, it changes your belief in the work itself. Knowing it’ll be seen by others, is breaking a barrier. Its willful exposure of ones self, in the hopes that I connect with an audience at my own level. Its nerve-wracking.
“..next time, stick around, don’t be afraid to engage with him, in a general way, and if he asks (why are you taking so many pictures), you can tell him its a study of life on the street, and that he happens to be a perfect fit, for part of it.
This way you can build a relationship with him, and trust, and you will get astonishing images worthy of note, as long as you maintain a core vision of how the symmetry of the elements work together in the frame, then your images will fucking explode.”
or, subjective writing on objective subjectivity, and the art of internal forgiveness and cognitive art™.
I hate long texts, they intimidate me, please press the Forgiven button here to skip to the end.
The proper way to be is to maintain a Practical Cognitive Response during adverse conditions. However, as I’m learning, objectively, about myself, I tend to naturally lean towards the impractical.
Impractical Cognitive Response is brought to you today by way of complex post traumatic stress disorder, intermittent self awareness and the lack thereof.
I have problems with processing behaviours of other people, specifically holding them to a standard of behavior, -which I believe, has mellowed over time, but for all intents and purposes, is impractical, as it has a tendency to get dinged frequently, causing cumulative internal negative cognitive response.
I have identified that I now have some expectations, something I believed I was immune to until recently. My expectations are, basically, as I’m still figuring them out with the professionals, based on a set of parameters which, I hate to admit it; manners & politeness. I hate it because I remember as a child, how that thinking and behavior was banged into me by others who weren’t practitioners of their beliefs. I hated the humiliation that came with that protocol training. I have vague memories of prefabricated buildings with eggshell blue walls and the burned underside of piano keys.
However, here I am, with these expectations, now as an adult. Those vague memories don’t make much sense but have something to do with early humiliation, loneliness, ostracization and arithmetic.
Im also learning about boundaries. Im learning how not just to have them, but how to internally justify them to myself, which is is fundamental stuff, the most basic sense of self and integrity, which I obviously didn’t have as a child. Learning these things is like going through puberty part deux. Some of us are born with these necessities instilled from the get-go, some of us spend our childhoods in survival mode, which lays waste to everything else of lesser importance, all of that shit comes back in adulthood and by that time, there are standard societal expectations of you, which are unbearable because you are still doing remedial studies that you missed out on earlier.
With age, the brain hardens, and the learning isn’t easy, and it comes with radical change, and the broaching of safety zones; I have to feel safe to make any moves.
These terms help. Clinical language about one’s self, and what that self is, from a semi outside perspective: audience of one- myself. Otherwise known as objectivity, but that word I reserve for others, or art, or critical thinking; things I actually like. That’s not to say that I don’t like myself, I do, mostly, for reasons I’ll get to later, or maybe never. Maybe I’ll keep that stuff to myself and be happy with it, or just not discuss it for other reasons I don’t want to consider now, because I have something more pressing to do.
My method of communicating with myself is like negotiation. The closest thinking I can think of, in literary terms, is that of Samuel Beckett, or Louis Ferdinand Celine, though these are merely similarities, and not necessarily the minutiae of my cognizance.
Negotiation, because in order for me to get a thing out, I feel like I have to substantiate it, reinforce it, and I do that by a mixture of anecdote, example, and literary fact. I use this as foundation building material, but ultimately, I think, this looks like hedonistic digression. Maybe it is, but I like to think of it as cognitive art™, so I embrace it.
Again, audience of one.
I record my therapy sessions. I have been using these recordings as fodder for learning new audio editing programs, learning how to make podcasts and learning how to formulate dialogue for radio and the short span of attention syndrome. I say umm and ahh a lot. So much so, that I can now visually identify them in a wave file. I am 90% correct when I don’t listen to the audio and make cuts. Thankfully these are non-destructive programs..
There is value in the pause. Gaps in dialogue that are filled with the whirring cogs of thought and structure. They give me clarity upon listening, which shows me both my internal process and an external struggle. Objectively, they present a sense of genuineness, subjectively, I know what they are; shuffling paragraphs and chapters of explanations and foundational texts into position like an psychological air traffic controller, shifting pieces to fit within the allotted timeframe that the space of therapy provides.
I think thats enough for now, I’m actually satisfied I was able to get this out, insofar as out can be.
I love and respect all of the people I photograph on the streets. I see you, and I see you in the fragmented moments when you are off guard, unaware, and existing in the space between consciousness and biology.
To my heroes, my street loves; my respect, always.
Imagine yourself as a cinematographer, tasked with the job of making iconic scenes with your camera.
The producer is watching you closely, because you are the one who realizes the dream. You are under pressure to make the world wow to your brilliance.
You have to be conscious in the moment, conscious behind the camera, aware and awake to make opportunities for yourself and exploit them further.
Take your time, instead of making one image make 5 or 7. Move around, look at the place you are in, think dimensionally.
Watch the elements as they move, snap the moments as they occur, add your own control factors, manage the scene without interfering in it.
Know your lens, and know what the image will look like you’ve taken it.
Be conscious in the viewfinder, even if it isn’t at your eye.
Shoot to complement the thoughts in your mind, not the other way around.
I feel that I don’t know how to actually love flexibly.
I only know how to love in straight lines, variation confuses me, and I shut down.
I’m an expert at shutting down and cutting off.
And I can really hurt people.
I’ve lived in Seattle since November 25th 2004, and in that time I have seen some slow changes, lost touch with a lot of people who moved on, disappeared left town etc. It’s really not until 2013 that the physical changes happened in the city that I could start to think I was living in a dynamic place.
I came to the US with an expectations of grandeur.
I was really surprised when I got to New York, Boston, Chicago, Detroit and DC and was hit in the face with the fact that these were aging cities, and the sense that the people living there, really didn’t have much actual control or say over anything that went on, because democracy got in the way. Id assumed the US was bright shiny and new.
As a European, I had always grown up with places that were maintained and there was a real sense of local pride and everyone was involved in it.
Over the years and traveling around, I’ve seen enough of it to tell me that this country is definitely a continent in decline. A place strangled by conservative values, and disregard for everything except money.
The US is definitely not a place I want to grow old in, and yet, I don’t know where else there is now that hasn’t adopted the same capitalistic values, and with that the utterly destructive nature of that which is held in high regard: individualism.
In sorry to say that it’s only now, 25 years into my career, that I am becoming aware of Ernst Haas. The publicly available repertoire of the man’s photography is immense. His philosophies of remaining independent and never adhering to a dedicated style are self evident.
A quote from the Ernst Haas Estate website affirms to me, now 25 years on, that my personal belief and instinct were correct all along;
“Still, I don’t want to declare there are no highways of fruitful directions. In learning there are. Follow them, use them and forget them. Don’t park. Highways will get you there, but I tell you, don’t ever try to arrive. Arrival is the death of inspiration. Beware of direct inspiration. It leads too quickly to repititions of what inspired you. Beware of too much taste as it leads to sterility. Refine your senses through the great masters of music, painting, and poetry. In short, try indirect inspirations, and everything will come by itself.”
Be aware of forward inspiration, but reverse-engineer everything, think backwards and look for the defining characteristics and recurring foundations in everything. Everything else is just dressing.