CHARGING THE BATTERY
By MICHAEL PERKINS
THERE IS NO SINGLE GUARANTEED SPARK for the creative process. As photographers, we move through the world on completely random tracks, and so there can be no set order for the things we will see, what their impact will be upon us, or indeed whether they will register with us at all. The development of a photographic “eye” is uneven and happens in fits and starts, not as a steady uphill climb from ignorance to enlightenment. Understandably, we all have different poets, or guides, that speak to us in this process.
It’s certainly not a stretch to connect Henry David Thoreau with contemplation, as well as the search for one’s role in the natural world. But maybe you’re not a tree and flower person. Maybe your Thoreau is found in a quiet room, or a back street, or the face of someone you love. The main thing is that, in the act of making images, we all choose influencers, teachers, gurus. Something someone did or said sometime leaves its mark on us. So forgive the decidedly “nature-y” bias of the image seen here, as well as the several sayings by Mr. T. listed below. They work well in tandem for me, but I think they also may remind you of your own personal guidepost, be it person or thing. Something lit the spark in you to make you want to capture light in a box in your very singular. Listen to that voice, and let it both anchor you and set you free.
Semi-photographic philosopher’s stones from the Laureate of Walden:
It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.
Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.
There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.
and, finally, one that makes all the difference, whether you are clicking a camera shutter or building a tower:
Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.