I have started walking around, again, with no intention other than being in the world and seeing who is around to talk to. It has been a while since this was a regular practice and I have to say, wow. I had forgotten what it was like to not have an agenda, I didn't realize until today as I was laying in my bed and couldn't stop thinking about it. That is why photography is so exciting.
I remember when I was 19, I had just started photojournalism courses, and one day I was feeling pretty down. I was sitting on my couch in my first real apartment, I think I was crying for no reason in particular, and I thought "Well, I should probably do something." So I went to this rally because some of the faculty at SIU had gone on strike and I took a bunch of photos. All this time it hadn't totally clicked, for me, why doing that was able to make me feel so much better. It is the mind set that taking photos puts me in. By walking around without a purpose and allowing myself to take note of my surroundings, just let things happen and really pay attention, I'm reminded about all of the small things that make being alive exciting. Just the act of having a spontaneous conversation with a stranger can change the course of your day. It might not change your life, but it could change your attitude, which feels like a good start. If nothing else, it made me appreciate that even though I might be in a bad mood, the world continues to turn and eventually the bad mood will be over. I am not trying to be overly simplistic or optimistic, I know some problems can't be solved by taking a walk, and that photography can be used as a much more powerful and less selfish tool. However, it is comforting to remember that it is also a pretty great way to change your perspective.
Recently I found out a 28-year-old photographer passed away. I started looking at his photos and came across this quote by him and it hit me in the gut.
“Photography is like a religious practice, because it’s largely about opening yourself up to the flow of life. If you aren’t out there with an agenda, things come to you.”
I feel a little bit lame writing this, like some photographers may be like, "well, duh," but this is where I'm at! I don't really know where photography will take me, but I am grateful that it will always be a way to re-connect with the world.
P.s. I have developed a deep love affair with karaoke, the only downside is that every time I go, I come home smelling like an ashtray.