Monday, July 9, 2012

Back to the basics [The Beauty of It]

 How did it all start?  
 This is a question I always get around matter the subject - I am a perpetual pupil. I'll soak it in like a sponge. It drives my husband crazy, but then when I have exhausted my efforts and resources, he totally benefits from my highlight reel. He gets the meat and potatoes of it all. And I get the burned out eyeballs from late nights of page turning, and web hopping. Lucky fella :)  It all leads to the very beginning. The basics. I have to admit, I am voracious when it comes to any topic that interests me. Thank goodness for Google and YouTube!

"These days, "basic" has become novelty."

   Some people think that going back to the basics defeats the purpose of technology. Don't get me wrong, I love the convenience of technological advancements (and have put behind me how DUMB it makes me feel). I really do. I love being able to set up my coffee maker the night before so all I have to do is wake up to already brewed coffee. Most days. Other days I like to get out my french press and brew a sincerely delicious cup of joe. These days, "basic" has become novelty. It's a fine option for sure. I just think that people hunger for getting back to the roots of something. To having a hand in the development of it. What I find to be true about a lot of people is those who embrace technology a lot of times are hurried. And those who go back to take the time to learn the foundations of the things they enjoy are calmer, and happier people. This is just my theory of course, and to each their own. Technology is SO fast. Unless you submerge yourself into daily, you lose ground, quickly. This is something that has smacked me in the face, as of late. Dang, I think I have two black eyes from it.

   I love food (who doesn't). There is something utterly satisfying for me to be able to grow it. To get my hands on it, watch it mature, smell it... I am making myself hungry! Yes food out at a restaurant is nice too - love that I don't have to cook it and it is something out of the ordinary, maybe something new, maybe something a little trendy. But the most enjoyable meals I have ever had were ones that I had a hand in from the very beginning - sometimes all the way back to the days it was a seed. To get my hands in the earth, feed it and water it, to see something mature under my care that isn't only beautiful to look at but delicious and far superior than all that is offered at the local grocery store. There is not only a pride in it, but pure accomplishment and joy in a job well done. It is gratifying.
This could be said about a lot of things, photography included.

   This is the first year we have had a garden here in Alabama. We've had several gardens in Indiana, and it is a bit different from what we are used to. The biggest difference is the soil. It has been a learning experience that we are better off for having had to learn it. It's a different set of challenges. Like most things. But let me tell you how giddy we ALL were to have our first ripe eggplant, the first blush of the tomatoes, etc... I am THRILLED beyond measure that my girls needed little encouragement to dig in, so to speak. They've loved eating what they have grown. What they weren't prepared for, but I am so thankful to have the lesson to teach, was how a lot of what we have grown hasn't been store perfect. They couldn't believe it, and were bewildered that not all of them were as big or as beautiful as the ones in the stores. I explained that while that is what is shown to us as perfect and good, in a lot of cases was nutritionally inferior and less taste - full than what we grew. Just like magazines, I added. That isn't what those people, relationships, lives etc...ACTUALLY look like. They are polished and enhanced and we are shown the most appealing sides. It was a lesson that was well received. I love my girls.

" I explained that while that is what is shown to us as perfect and good, in a lot of cases was nutritionally inferior and less taste - full than what we grew. "

   One thing that excites me inexplicably is ... film. I adore it. It thrills me. It's plain and simple magic in a box. The fact that someone was a genius and curious and was able to pull off making the first image is incredible to me. My husband looks at me like a I am a loon ( I prefer to think of the beautiful bird in this mental imagery ) when I talk about it. I get chills, I get teary eyed. I dare say I get euphoric. Never in my life outside of my faith and family has anything ever wooed me like film. Ever. That being said, I was a failure in film. I still might be! My man has always been good to me and supported me in my ventures. He likes photographs. He's been pretty vocal about me getting plenty of pictures of the kids and has been from day one. He just can't see the difference between an image that was captured with film, and one captured with a digital camera. However, the "how" it got there isn't really his thing. So just like his tools aren't interesting to me, mine aren't to him. We skirt those issues delicately, just like any wise married couple. There are the occasional glazed over eyes. The sometimes robotic nodding of the head, so it appears as the one of us is intently giving our spouse the undivided attention they want while sharing what is immensely boring to the other. Seriously, his tools are like gouge my eyes out boring. Although I don't show it. He repays me in kind, and that is enough for me :)

"Seriously, his tools are like gouge my eyes out boring."
   I have ran my very first roll of 120 through my new film camera. I have NO idea how it turned out. I have great hopes that it turned out at least ok. I have had my camera for months. And I have been scared of it. This is a true story. Last night my web designer came over to get some images. She shoots film. She needs to shoot more - I am sure she is reading this :) Talking with my husband he saw how she came alive when talking about film and art. I saw him look at me and knew he finally got it, that I wasn't the only one, and that there is really something about film that is enamoring. Today, there was no glazed look.

   I love seeing people passionate about something. Whether it is food - "Oh that is just GORGEOUS!" - about a plate of food that has been carefully laid out and dressed. Someone has taken the time to craft it for your enjoyment. Just for you! Or when someone holds a camera in their hands from the early 1900's and they just close their eyes and slowly that smile comes to their face. It is beautiful. To be able to go back to what gave you such a drive to do better, to go back to the basics of your interests is fantastical. It's that little break in the daily grind that can transport you to a different mindset, it can sooth you like little else, it makes you slow down. Some days it can frustrate you to the point of swearing it off forever because the elusive perfection has evaded you again.

   I see the basics as being a gift to those who choose to pursue after it. It is kindred. It is fraught with fears, failures, triumphs, passions and in the end, pure. satisfaction. As is anything worth having.

   So what is it that you want to sink your body and mind into? What is it that propels you into going further, digging deeper? What makes you want to scream it from the rooftops? Write it down. And do it.

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