#38 The art of sharing
A load off my mind
This newsletter is slowly transforming into a journal where I share my photography and thoughts. It's great to share my creativity, and getting some thoughts out of my head is becoming quite therapeutic.
It gets crowded in my monkey brain, filled with random ideas. I'm happy you are here to read along. It's like unburdening yourself to a friend. Not only that, I find that the more you write, the more space you have for other things.
Getting a thought out into the page liberates your thoughts, and other ideas shuffle to the front of the line. It's as if all the ideas are linked hand in hand; as I write, one another comes up from behind, from where ever ideas come from. So thank you for reading along. I think these words are beginning to flow quite nicely.
We seldom print photographs these days; they seem to accumulate on phones and SD cards. I remember when I first discovered photography in high school, developing rolls of film was a big deal.
I'd found taking photos and thought it was important to record events (yes, this was before social media, the internet and smartphones which are all very new technology). It costs time and money to print out photos. Albums were bought, and more time was spent sticking images in them, sometimes with quirky comments and captions. I miss this tangible analogue way of preserving photos. Apart from special occasions like weddings, birthdays or births, most things are stored away digitally.
It's essential to have something tangible, so I've begun printing out some of my photos; there are many online printers with special deals, so why not. Seeing my images in print is exciting. It's as if I've got a roll of film back from the lab all over again. Perhaps I'm beginning to show my age, but many millennials are discovering the joys of analogue film processing, which still has its appeal.
I was reviewing the hundreds of photos I've taken over the years in Sicily. I can recall how I began with my traditional DSLR camera; then I bought my first Digital camera, an Olympus that lasted a good stretch; it allowed me to take endless photos without worrying about the cost and time to develop.
Then over the past decade, the technology has just taken off; these days, smartphones take better images than any of the first digital camera’s ever did.
Since then, I've been happily exploring the Canon universe of cameras, which has adapted so well (they also have excellent film SLRs, my first camera was a Canon). I like how you can have a professional camera's manual functions in a little body; it's perfect for street photography because so many of the older models were quite clunky and hard to manage.
Today there are endless choices on the market, and photography is accessible to everyone, which is a marvellous prospect. Art and self-expression should be open for everyone, as we should all be flexing our creative muscles; this brings so much joy into the world.
I recently read about the American photographer Vivian Dorothy Maier; her story was heartbreaking. She worked as a nanny for about 40 years while pursuing photography as a hobby. The images she captured of the people and architecture of Chicago, New York and LA and her journeys worldwide are all so beautifully iconic, depicting a lifetime of human history.
Maier took more than 150,000 photographs during her life. The sad thing is that she never shared them with anyone. Her photographic work was discovered after her death. A collector acquired some of Maier's negatives by chance. After being unable to find anything about her, he googled the name on the boxes of the negatives and prints. The search led to Maier's death notice in the Chicago Tribune of April 2009. Then, her photos went viral on Flickr.
Sadly, Vivian Maier never thought her art was worth sharing. It's a poignant reminder that art and creativity should be shared. Creativity is generous by nature; it speaks freely to others and constantly creates new conversations based on shared emotions and experiences. Share your art and connect yourself to others.
Keeping photos stored in a hard drive is like holding a completed novel in a draw; a new creation's place is in the world.
Vivian Maier's story has inspired me to share more because my photographs are the fruit of my experiences in Sicily.
Each photo is a moment, a memory preserved from an individual point of view and time.
Like this building from Taormina.
The town is usually swarming with international tourists, it seems poignant to see the sidestreets quietly empty on a sunny afteernoon. I can still feel the heat and humid confusion of the crowded streets from the morning. I was frustrated that I couldn't get a photo without anyone walking before me.
I wanted a little personal postcard, different from those tacky ones they sell in the souvenir stands on the side of the streets, like taking home a little tray of candid citrus or almond biscotti, sweet reminders that you can savour later.
So I went of some lunch and let the confusion subside. After a while walking along the main street I noticed this building It was perfectly iconic moment, with only two people casually in the frame. One an artist painting and a lady doing some window shopping.
Now that the pandemic is over I cannot wait to regularly visit Taormina, sit and have a coffee with a pasta da mandorla biscotto.
I promise I'll never complain about the tourists or the heat again as long as I get to go back more often.
I hate to be long-winded, so I will stop here for now.
I'll keep trying to write something worthwhile here every week, perhaps more often if I get in some karmic writing zone.
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Speak again soon.
With love and light from RDB
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