I've had this "head in the clouds" feeling this past week upon getting back from my short sojourn to New Zealands' North Island. I’m not sure if I lost something, if I found something or if it deserves any further thought beyond this. All I know is that I learnt something.
Something about myself? Definitely.
Something spiritual? Yes, for sure.
What was it? I don’t know, something words can’t quite yet describe.
But I’m going to have a go.
Up there, in that persistent, somewhat comforting, yet somewhat disconcerting loneliness of following a mapped path, there is much time to come to grips with ones’ own thoughts, stew them in a warm curry of analysis, add some chunks of doubt, and sweeten with patience n’ praise.
In that thundering silence, the moments between each breath, heart pounding and sweat cooling the skin, every sensor in my body is so undeniably alive, so illuminated by every bit of the story unfolding. To the casual observer I may have looked like I was struggling up the hill, in my own mind, I was pacing myself, consistent versus rushed. What I was reveling in, was the brain curry. I was getting things sorted.
Strength of mind doesn’t just happen.
Nobody can tell you how to be strong, how to overcome your obstacles, how to ignore the physical pain in your legs and to keep going. One thing I’ve learnt from my years of training: don’t stop. That’s when the darkness creeps in and you believe, despite all your mental investments… you can’t.
Take that into your life… when life’s’ obstacles come up, when things get too hard, do you stop? No, inexplicably, you find a way to get through. I know many of you are waiting and wondering what this has to do with photography. Irrespective of the camera gear firmly strapped to my back, or the fact that I was here to take photos in the first place, if you haven’t gotten it already, let me map it out for you.
This is a tough industry to be in. Every single day someone will pick up a camera and take photos. Whether they are any good at it is nothing you can control. A very small minority will shoot so well the first time, as if they’ve been doing it all their life. Don’t try to be Beethoven because you bought a piano. All good things take time...
Photography is your personal journey.
Do not rely on others to tell you that your work is good. You must know it inside yourself before putting it out there to the world. This is a brave step, but one that must be done for the right reasons, not the wrong. After all, if you use it as a litmus test, there must be a fair key test as well.
It is everything that you make it, and everything that you don’t. I have personally found, that if I do it for me, everything will flow nicely.
If you’re still feeling like it needs to be more than that, sit down, look around you. Look at what you have accomplished, look at the support from family and friends. We all have difficult times. You can’t have a rose without the thorns.
Through the tough times, you kept going.