Journal Entry: Sat Sep 27, 2014, 8:36 AM
This moon phase which began on the 24th is a heavy one. The intensity of its place in Scorpio is proving to be one of great weight and change... over the past few days I've watched it torment my friends, and I've felt it bear down on my mind. The air temperature has dropped dramatically as well, the annual reminder of the cold days to come, and this mixed with a temperamental phase has caused great stress and confusion among the aware and complacent alike.
Our technological progression is robbing us of what once brought our senses alive, of the smell and feel of doing something, and replacing it with the miserably mundane stench of glossy plastic and burning motherboards.
I remember when I was on a charcoal drawing kick in my early 20's, and one of the pleasing things about drawing in charcoal was the way it got all over my hands and covered the tissue that I used to smear it around with, and then that emanating subtle smell which was made when smearing it into paper and pushing it around and into the fiber. The physicality of doing something like that adds a measure of merit which is unattainable to that of a digital file, the idea of someone smearing paper with charcoal has an authentic aura to it, because you know that the person who made it was bent over it in concentration, breathing onto the paper itself, pushing the granules into it with their fingers, feeling it's fibers as the piece came to life. In my eyes, when you remove that physical element from the equation, when you replace these traditional and timeless methods with our modern means of execution the soul of the work is missing... the most important aspect of the work, the very thing that gives a piece its heartbeat and immortal life, is lost.
I've always felt that creating imagery, whether it be charcoal drawing, oil painting, graffiti writing, photography, any sort of making an image, is like a dance. The actual physical act of creating it is essential to the final product. Imagine someone smearing charcoal into the paper, or mixing and thinning oils and then dragging them across a canvas, or a graf writer pacing a wall with quick lines and fills, or even a photographer arriving at a summit and setting up a tripod and scanning the horizon for the right framing, or better yet, the actions of a photographer in a film darkroom... all of these actions are a part of the piece, a part of the dance, and when I see a work of art I wonder about this part of the process, and envisioning a master at work is a beautiful thing, knowing that the person who created the art went through such a process is what makes it so special, that is what makes it timeless, that is what gives it the edge, heart, and soul, that every masterpiece holds.
So what do we have when instead of such an elaborate process someone simply sits behind a computer screen and bypasses any and all of this to arrive at a similar image? Where is the soul, where is the sweat, where is the smell, where is the personal connection, where is the physical connection to the material object?
This realization, this biting in the back of my brain has me at a crossroads. Lately I've found myself in a hell of a rut artistically, and I can't help but wonder just how irrelevant the work of the digital revolution just may be... and I'm not pointing fingers, I'm steeped deep in the scene here as a digital nature photographer, this is more of a rant inward than outward. I'm in a good groove with high magnification macro work with insects, and shooting landscapes keeps me traveling and searching, but I've begun to doubt the basket in which I've placed all my chips... I feel too comfortable, and any artist worth their salt knows that when you begin to feel comfortable, it's time to change direction and charge forward. I've spent the last couple of years working at my photography, I transitioned from film to digital and narrowed my scope to that of landscape and insect photography and attempted to get serious and actually do something worthwhile. And now, in the polished and practiced wake I find myself in a lull where the voices are loud and filled with doubt, and for the first time in a long time I feel restless and agitated in my work, I feel that old itch, that mental nagging of disgust which only comes in times of contentment. I feel confined to my own limitations and methods, like I built four walls from routine and practice and though I've refined them and made a place to work and progress, my instinct is screaming at me to break them down and recreate them with my sweat, tend to them with my hands, fill them with my breath.
The question of longevity and substance is real, at least to me it is, and it's something I've never really faced before recently. Now that I have, things just don't look the same. Maybe it's me, maybe it's the moon, maybe it's my mind, but I can feel it radiate in my chest before it settles in my stomach, and the one thing I've learned in my 3 decades on this earth is to never ignore these rumblings. Words and wisdom and everything else pales in comparison to echoes like these, all we need to know comes from these vibrations from within.
We are taught to seek our path from those who've led the tracks, but some of us know better, some of us feel the pull into the unknown, stained with a strange lust to slip away from the same. It's a conflicted existence, that's a given, but it's bright and blinding and undeniable. You can't drown it out, you can't smoke it away, you can't shoot it down, no state of sedation can grant such silence, it's a perpetual condition of untouchable depth. You can't stop its incessant chatter. Mumbling in the background of every decision it's the opinionated reprehension of self which creates constant apprehension to conformity. It's the muse pointed in the other direction, teasing with temptation, audacious with a voracious appetite for the unknown.