This is a gift, it comes with a price Who is the lamb and who is the knife
Midas is king and he holds me so tight And turns me to gold in the sunlight
I ran into an old colleague the other day (at work, holy donkeyshow batman). I always loved working around him and it was great catching up while scooping the last of Disney’s ice into dump trucks. The inevitable “So how have you been lately?” came after a generous time and as usual, I was unsure what to say. “I’m okay, I guess,” I shrugged, and he blatantly rolled his eyes. I can’t blame him, I too hate such indescript updates like “Okay”. But seriously, that’s how I felt at the time. Too much had happened to sum up without sounding as self-centered as I would like to be, so I summed it up for him, finishing with:
“I picked up photography again.”
He grinned and shook his head. “You’re really…” He gestured with his hand. “Here and there, aren’t you?”
I had to agree. I mean, it’s true; what haven’t I done in the past few years? Who haven’t I pretended to be?
Capoeirista, medic, climber, sound, lighting and video technician, stencil artist, writer,… And now a photographer.
Mind you, I can give you examples of compliments I’ve gotten on all of these, and provide the references on a piece of paper. But that’s because I’ve never truly been tested on any. I always made a good beginner, but I never went further than that.
Take Capoeira, for instance. Years ago it seemed like a huge new thing; a big challenge. After doing a workshop, my mind was made up: I would sign up. Soon, I followed classes twice a week, and practiced in my garden. I was asked if I had done this before, because I caught on very easily.
Today, it has been months since I last trained, and not even with my own group. My teacher asked me why I wasn’t coming anymore, and I explained him I just don’t have the time and money. Which is true! Classes cost well over €100 for one season. For a whole year, twice a week, we’re talking more than €500. I can’t cough that up.
What I didn’t mention however, is why I can’t. It’s because I’ve been investing my time and money in other things. Travelling last year, equipment this year. Either I spent all my money living it up, or I’m working my ass off to recover. Something else has come along, not necessarily more interesting but definitely more refreshing. I seem to throw myself onto one hobby after the other, dreaming of one day being one of the best, until I reach a sort of mediocrity where my initial knowledge and excitement fade in importance, and then move on to be awesome at something else.
I bet it must seem a little depressing to some, to never finish what you start. I can’t say it has bothered me much in the past: I was in it for the fun and that’s exactly what I got.
Photography however, is different. This isn’t just some other hobby I’m going to slack at. All my life I’ve had this in the back of my head and I should have started a long time ago. In fact, I shouldn’t have failed art school. There, I said it. Fuck industrial science, copy machines and western languages. This is one school I deeply regret quitting.
The difference now, is that my goal is not to meet the challenge or go with the flow for as long as it’s fun. The idea is to catch up with time and become what I once intended to, before I believed that I could do anything at all.
Here’s a piece of criticism I received the other day regarding this photo:
"Apparently the servers here dislike my entire gargoyle set." (The servers rejected my photo’s)
I don’t blame them. This is not very good. I suppose this is a picture of gargoyles and you want to emphasize these architectural features. Neither seems to be sharp or to stand out from the background. The blue/green line running through the nose of the first gargoyle does not help. The back gargoyle is really out of focus and lost in the clutter. I also fail to see how the rest of the image works. The patterns of the window panes are not that interesting and just detract from the center(s) of interest. Impact and interest are poor. Technique is poor with flat lighting and lack of contrast. Composition appears accidental. It looks like someone saw some interesting gargoyles and just snapped a picture. Yup, I am on the side of the servers.
What happened to “Dude, you’re awesome for someone who bought his camera last week”? I asked a professional for his blunt opinion, is what. Not because I’m looking for praise for once, but for improvement. I’m going to play this to the hilt.
Where is this… life, that my father spoke of?
Where are these… responsibilities… that my teachers warned me about?
Whatever were those ghost stories about?
Am I doing something wrong here, or am I the only one getting it right? My troubles aren’t anything like those described to me when I grew up. While the world turns from nine to five, I wake up halfway and wonder which can to open. And if I work, I receive both enjoyment and cold, hard cash.
I both receive and give as little as possible, so I can focus on my own business rather than society’s. When I was ten years old, I would have expected to be struck by lightning at this rate, because to be a citizen means to work hard, raise a family, and die from cancer. Would you mind if I passed on all three? They sure don’t sound appealing, at least to me.
I do what I like, all day, every day. I invest in people, work and hobbies because I enjoy all three. Just when should this exhausting, boring, sorry excuse for a life begin? I think I missed that meeting.
It’s really nothing personal, but please, fuck you all. Keep your little world and its little problems, I have better things to do- like decide on pizza for tonight. Please? If it’s not too much to ask.
Don’t mind if I dance a little longer. Look the other way while I break one more law. Your ways and rules take place outside my head. It seems I was the only one given a life, so…
Don’t mind if I do.