Situational Awareness

August 02, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

I live on a hill, in over-populated suburbia (or so it feels).

Crying babies, barking dogs, the shrill of cat fights pierce the nights, mornings and every other time in between. Kitchen smells drift between yards, lawnmowers slash the silence and loud engines roar through the tight streets. Tantrums. Tempers. The noises flood my brain. They’re both familiar and unwelcome, but part of life that I cannot change.

The sun rises through my bedroom window, a natural alarm. Its warm light is cast so lightly over my face, I cannot ignore it; I know it is morning. If it’s not the sunlight then it’s my neighbor’s son yelling at his parents, a defiant act of youth so rudely engrained in modern culture. I often wish I had a tranquilizer dart in which to shoot through the window, a shred of a fantasy born out of too many rude awakenings.

Tens of minutes after waking, I drag my sorry, sleep-deprived carcass to the car, bus or train – pulled by a silent force. I travel an uncertain time, sometimes standing in a stranger’s armpit to get to the big smoke. My legs carry me inside the building as I vaguely come-to, not wanting to admit that it’s either Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.

I work in an office. I work with sounds, errors, numbers, response times and stats. I am a slave to the stats, tiny measures that tell others whether I’m pulling my weight or not. There is no room for creativity – it is a mere buzzword for doing something differently that has already been done before. Beeps and blips, heated and casual discussions, talk and promises, but always constantly; problems. Problems to be solved, sorted or fixed.

After all the things broken for the day are fixed, I repeat the mornings’ ritual to return to my home, my haven away from the world.

My analytical world is sensory overload.

Enter Landscape Photography.

Given this is my chosen genre, I cannot have the luxury of calling this my "fulltime".

If the day begins with an ‘S’ then I am free. I am on my own timeline and can explore. I have 48 hours in which to do whatever I wish. Whether it be bush, bay, cities or oceans, I can go where I desire, answering only to myself, without stats, pressures or measurable outcomes.

It is on these days that I voluntarily spring out of bed hours before I normally would on a weekday, I am energized with the stress of five days to turn it all around and escape to Zen; to forget all the “stuff” that happened in the finer details and disappear into the creation of one of my images. It’s a drive to a place devoid of people, complimented by tunes of my choice and an open road.

Where I go is up to the weather, I tailor and tune each of my locations to the variables as best I can. Occasionally I throw caution to the wind and just start driving down a highway, knowing that I will have something, somewhere in which to shoot. There’s always something, it just depends how you look at it.

Most photographers will tell you that they just love to shoot, but not really be able to tell you why. We mostly all say that it’s an escapism, that centuries of industrialism has meant that creatives were the witches- hunted down and turned into salary workers. Who needed creativity? It was a dangerous state of mind that went against popular thought.

Creativity is the dark and the light, the practice where there is no correct answer, no wrong answer, just good, better and best. It is to use parts of the brain that is best associated with childhood, the imaginative and the arbitrary. On this side of the fence, it is about keeping the brain fresh, active and constantly imaging. Without imagination, how do we possibly hope to come up with new ideas to interpret into our work?

I need to create, I need to keep thinking about what to do. I have so many ideas, but how to extract them so easily and translate them into a work – whether written or photographic, that is the question.

It’s not just simply a matter of creating for creations’ sake

Or is it?


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