Friday, July 29, 2011

I truly surprised myself. . .

Summer sky over St. John's College, Music on the Hill

Every summer at the Santa Fe Photo Workshops there is a weekly instructor 'slide show' on Monday nights. The Workshops first brought me here umpteen years ago and I consider it a touchstone of sorts. The summer workshops usually start at the end of June and go until early August. I hadn't been to one in over two years and really wanted to make this sojourn part of my summer this year.

I finally caught the penultimate show last week. Five instructors showing their work, and a panel discussion afterward. It was good. It was interesting to hear them all talk about sacrificing so much to be a full-time photographer, professionals, making their living making/taking pictures.

From time to time over the years I've wondered what would have happened if I'd taken all the time and energy I spent designing other people's photo books, and put those efforts into my own photography to be able to do it full time. I've made some money over time shooting weddings, portraits, events, for sure. But I never really went for it.

It was so surprising for me to sit and listen to these folks this week, as it slowly dawned on me that I was so glad I'd never become a full-time professional photographer. I've been taking pictures since I was about eight-years old and it has always been magic to me. That continues. If I'd done it professionally I don't know if I'd have the same feelings about it.

Then something else came in. I asked myself, if you could only choose one, take pictures or write, which would you choose? And to my utter surprise I chose the latter. To write stories. One of my favorite artists is (was) Beatrice Wood. She published an autobiography called "I Shock Myself". Such a delight, as she lived to be 103 and attributed this in great part to her love of chocolate and young men!

I am not sure how much longer I will call New Mexico home. I came here many years ago to live a creative life. I have, and it has come at a price in many ways. But I would not change a minute of it. And if it took me this long to be able to surprise myself with this realization of writing, which may seem small to the reader, but which is actually huge for me, then so be it. The timing is always perfect, and no moment of the journey is ever wasted. Wonder, wonder, wonder.

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