My job has been stale. Every year at some point I feel burnt out, but it seems each year that feeling comes quicker. It also seems that my life is in some sort of weird repeating cycle. Every two years similar events happen with similar disappointments in similar settings despite the fact that I age. Some times the comparisons are uncanny, sometimes I think I generalize and attribute these similarities to overblown coincidence. What it comes down to is frustration and quick, often wrong rationalization.
The first quarter of my freshman year of college in the fall of 2007 was a very trying, frustrating time filled with insomnia and culture shock. Despite the initial overwhelming, negative experience, I learned not only how to take better photographs but learned about a man named Gordon Parks.
Gordon Parks is my favorite photographer, not just for the images he captured and stories he told, but for his honest interpretation of his work and himself. While doing a report on him I came across a quote from him:
"Many times I wonder if my achievement was worth the loneliness I experienced, but now I realize the price was small." - Gordon Parks
Gordon Parks taught me that photography is not just documentation of the world around you, but also an expression of yourself. The things you chose to document, chose to go see, chose to cover and chose to photograph represent something you want to say, but not might always have the words for. Some people paint pictures, some people write poetry, some people whine and moan on their social networking websites, Parks showed me that I had photography.
The other night I was on top of a parking garage listening to the Reds game with a friend. Four years earlier I had been at the same parking garage with the same friend. We had gone there after setting out with my first digital camera with one goal in mind; to explore. I've been doing the same thing ever since then. As we overlooked the nearby suburban shopping center and cinema I made the remark: "You know? Shit never really got better."
I said the comment without much thought after a few consecutive frustrating days. I may not have meant it, but it got me thinking about why we had set out with the camera in 2005 and why I still do the same thing today.
Over time the people, places and events I've chosen to photograph, even when picked out of necessity for an assignemnt, represented not only the goal of an assigned task or someone/something's story, but a reflection of my own interest and feeling.
Photography is not only a form of documentation, but a reflection of your thoughts and sub-conscious. From the anxiety and things you wish you could say to the joy of life and little known detail you wish to share, photography has been my way of showing the things I can't often put into words or outright say. As self righteous or cliche as it may sound, the top reward from my work would be for someone to see it and know they weren't alone in the confused feelings of life that they have, just as Gordon Parks showed me.
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Previous Update :: August 3, 2009 - Bush Stadium: Indianapolis, Indiana