As is so often the case with anything new, especially anything new and so exciting, I can’t stop thinking about this. I mean I can do things, I can live life, but I think about this project for hours a day. I talk to people about it, I work on it. I am head over heals for it. It has gotten to the part though where now I have to start dealing with the reality of it all. It really is so much like dating, or so much of what I know and imagine dating to be. (if you know me you know what a strange world women are for me, so you understand, if not, suffice it to say, women are a strange world.)
The second date with this project, her, was both a failure and success, a successful failure? (I love Apollo 13 references.) A failure in that I don’t feel like I got any usable images out of the time I spent with her. A success in that I learned about her. At this point the learning is worth so much more than an image. The exploration of her quirks and needs was worth the time. So failure is perhaps both harsh and inaccurate, but I can be both some days, including today apparently.
The third time with her went well. I learned more yet, got yet more ideas, grew into my understanding of her more, plus I got some nice images out of the deal. I don’t know how many I’ll keep when all is said and done, but I got some. She needs sun, absolutely has to have sun, it’s a key to her happiness.
The thinking about her has been some of the most interesting stuff of the last week. I’m a journalist, a photojournalist, but a journalist, my reporting isn’t about me, but this isn’t quite reporting either. It’s something else. It’s more art project. I’m fine with this, it also creates some differences, some important differences for me. Pure reporting projects I get involved in, involved in emotionally, I care about them. I don’t understand how anyone could do a project and not care about it. I don’t think it happens, I hope it doesn’t happen.
The difference with a project like this is the point of origin, I think that’s the right term. With a reporting project the genesis is the world around us. This project the world around me is part of the project, but not the genesis point. The genesis point is me. This project is about freedom, faith, chances, leaping off the ledge, the soft catch, fear, comfort, embrace, a loss of control, and a belief that it will all turn out well. It’s a host of things.
The fear of stepping up to that ledge, and taking that step that should, in your primal brain, kill you, or at least hurt you. The knowledge that jumping two or three stories down won’t kill you, that it won’t hurt you. The belief that this is true, despite all the instinctual knowledge that it’s not, and having the faith to follow that belief, and come out the other side unscathed. The freedom of summer to take these kinds of chances. There is something about summer that leads people, at least me, to take chances I wouldn’t normally take. Maybe it’s that Midwest finally leaving the house thing, I don’t know, but the world, and all the opportunities open during summer. (The summer fling seems to be the greatest example of this thought process.)
This project is all those things, but ultimately it’s about me. It’s my attempt to express my feeling of these emotions. If I didn’t feel all of these emotions, I wouldn’t be able to do this project, to create this imagery. I don’t know why I wouldn’t be able to, but I know that when it comes to conceptual projects like this, it’s vital that I feel what I say. Maybe I just wouldn’t have the interest to say it otherwise, maybe I wouldn’t take the chance that’s necessary. I don’t enterily know, other than to know that I must feel what I say. I also know that this project isn’t for me, it’s for the world at large to see, so I must say these things in a way that the rest of the world will read, will understand, and hopefully feel. That just scares me. Maybe it’s just me, but I doubt it, but I fear no one will understand what these images say, but I think some people will understand, and I want to say it to them. Maybe it’s the way I’m most comfortable saying it to myself.
I know why I need to say it now also. It’s funny, when I was explaining the project to my friend rat bastard (sorry can’t name him, so I got to razz him) he came to roughly the same conclusion I had come to before I said it. This is my recovery piece.
I feel this way, now, because I didn’t feel this way for so many years before this. For me there seems to typically be a recovery project from a tough emotional period (let’s be clear, this involved a woman, shocking, I know). Previous emotional events went similarly, many a year ago it was photo project which I’m still very proud of, but it was destructive piece, because I was in that place. I’ll call the next project a performance art piece, between returning to college, again, and my behavior, that seems about right. And now, this time, it’s about freedom, and joy and happiness and release and faith in the world. It’s funny, because I knew I needed to have this piece. I could feel it in me, for the last year, I could feel it simmering. I made a couple of failed starts on projects that just didn’t work. And then this happened. I’m not sure why, or how, it just seems to work. It’s a mystery. (Shakespeare in Love reference) And this is so very different than what I would have expected, maybe I love it more for that.
I guess if I’m going to be in a place, to be in a place of happiness and exploration is a good place to be. I’m still driven, I’m still unsatisfied with myself, I believe I can be, and should be more and better, but that’s kind of the central to being me, and that’s fine.
But at the end of the day I want to discover the world anew, I’m comfortable being vulnerable (which is a strangely wonderful feeling) and I’m happy. And maybe those feelings, and the feelings surrounding them is what this piece is about. And maybe those simple feelings people will understand and hopefully they will give me the pleasure of sharing those feelings with them, even if I never know that they have shared those feelings.
P.S. Sorry for the length and if you got through all that let me know and I’ll buy you a drink next time I see you. Cheers.