January 20, 2015

Focus

January 20, 2014 {20/365} "Vintage Technology"

Just recently, I've become a bit obsessed with vintage technology, specifically typewriters (featured here and here) and cameras (like the ones pictured here). It isn't that I particularly enjoy antiques or antique shops; in fact, anyone who knows me will tell you that I don't like clutter. I prefer well-organized, minimalist fashion and décor, featuring a few statement pieces, and of course, I love cutting-edge technology. Yet, for the past few months, I've been pining for these antiquated devices, craving a beautiful old typewriter and camera to display among my most cherished books and found treasures. I find them wonderfully simple yet sophisticated and beautiful in their clean, mid-century design. I think that I've finally figured out what I find most attractive about vintage cameras and typewriters. They represent the technology that has allowed people to be creative: to write novels, poetry, and love letters (although those should truly be handwritten), to take photos of loved ones, to capture the beauty in nature and special events as well as everyday moments that become special once discovered and documented.


In August, I reflected on what I've learned by maintaining this blog, by writing and taking pictures everyday. Today on this Tech Tuesday, I'd like to refocus my lens on the creative process:
"Since I began blogging and participating in Project 365 activities, I have taken thousands of photographs. I often take multiple shots of the same subject -- sometimes on the same day, sometimes at different times of day (à la Monet), and sometimes days, weeks, months, or even a year later. Studying my photos has taught me so much about focus, composition, color, light, angles, and editing. And although "a picture is worth a thousand words," writing captions and narratives to accompany my photos has further challenged me to be both visually and verbally creative. When I look back on my own progress, I learned so much from the "mistakes" that I've made. The process has not only taught me to be a better writer and photographer, but it has also taught me some valuable life lessons. I have learned:
FOCUS: Be constantly present and observant. Focus on what is beautiful, unusual, the details that make a picture special, uniquely your own. Looking at things from different angles provides new opportunities to witness moments that would be missed if they were only observed from a single point of view. “When you start to change the way you see things, the things you see start to change.” ~ Wayne Dyer  
PERSEVERANCE: Commitment to a project of this magnitude can be challenging. There are days when nothing seems interesting; when it feels like there's nothing to photograph and/or nothing to write. There are nights when it's late and I'm tired, but I don't want to disappoint myself by not posting. There are moments when I know I have the potential to take a great picture, but the light, the camera, or the subject don't seem to be cooperating. There are times when there are no words. I've learned not to give up: Light changes, subjects move, and my own control over angles and focus can make all the difference. "Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained." ~ Marie Curie 
ACCEPTANCE: Sometimes, I can predict what my day will bring and what photos I might take, but even those pictures always look different in my mind than they do on my screen. My iPhone has predictable limitations. Sometimes, I know that I will never get close enough to capture what I see, and regardless of how much I plan, I can't control the weather, the natural light, or movement and will of others. I can only try new perspectives. "Acceptance doesn't mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there's got to be a way through it." ~ Michael J. Fox 
BALANCE: It is important to strike a balance between photos and words that are carefully planned, composed, and edited, and those beautiful, unexpected moments that require quick reflexes. So often when I've taken several shots of the same subject, it is my first impression that becomes the photo of the day. As much as I insist on presence and awareness, it is impossible to be fully present if one is constantly viewing life through a camera lens. “Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.” ~ Keith Urban 
SHARING: Creative expression (art, music, writing, etc.) is meant to be shared. Although I began this project to challenge myself and that continues to be my primary focus, I have rather serendipitously found an audience for my work via social media and word of mouth. The feedback and encouragement that I receive further challenge me to try new things and to continue to improve. Although it is impossible to please everyone, everyday, it is empowering to know that others look forward to my daily offerings (so thank you!). "Art is about sharing. You wouldn't be an artist unless you wanted to share an experience, a thought." ~ David Hockney