Mr. Stark, I don’t feel so good.

Life has a way of really chewing us up sometimes. Grinding us down and at those points we face a choice. Either face it head on and find a way to re-shape ourselves into something stronger, or let it turn us to dust and scatter us to the wind. Which path we choose is ultimately up to us.

Will you give up?

It’s real easy to feel like running away when we are in the depths of the grinder. The thing is, you can never run fast enough or far enough because more often than not, those things beating us down have a way of stowing away in our bags. Sometimes they take a little time to catch up with us, but ultimately they come knocking once again.

Will you stand and fight?

We’ve all heard of the fight or flight response. It’s how we’ve been told every living creature is wired. The most basic of our basic instincts is to fight the danger or run from it. If you run, things eventually catch up another day. If you fight you risk losing everything in that life or death struggle. But what if there is a third option we ignore.

A third option you say?

What if the best path through the problem is to dance through the mine field. Battle our demons by allowing ourselves to have an open mind and simply roll with the punches. We are going to take our lumps, no doubt about it. But with an open mind we will figure out a way to land back on our feet, stand back up and keep moving forward.

Those scars become a part of us. Shaping us into something stronger and wiser as we learn and grow from the darkness. There is always a way forward, sometimes we have to think outside the box to get there, but it’s there none the less.

What is this, the pep talk weekly newsletter?

The last few months or maybe longer have had me feeling like I’m being slowly chewed up in a grinder. I’ve been in a real big funk that I can’t seem to shake free of. The last week or two have been especially hard due to some very personal stuff I’m not going to air here. Let’s just say I’ve found myself feeling as if I am just an afterthought, forgotten, and not important to even those closest to me.

People that know me will say it’s because I celebrated my 40th birthday over that time, that it’s some sort of mid life crisis situation. I don’t agree. Some very real stuff happened that left me feeling completely isolated and alone.

In that time I thought a lot about my photo work. The same conversations I’ve been having regarding the thoughts of why am I shooting, why am I writing here, who really cares. The thing is, being out with a camera to my eye helps calm me down. Getting out in nature centers me. Even though I get frustrated that my work isn’t turning out how I want or maybe I’m bored with the subject matter at that time, it’s still a net gain in the stress relief department. Writing here is somehow comforting, though I find myself questioning who I’m writing for and who my intended audience is.

Enter Patrick La Roque.

I’ve long enjoyed Patrick’s work, both on his blog and the Kage Collective, but recently found that it’s REALLY resonating with me more than usual. While he is a professional commercial photographer his blog rarely shows that side of things. Sure there are some occasional gear articles, such as write ups on Fujifilm since he is an Official Fuji X Photographer, but overall he has these articles in which he writes a bit and shares these serene moments of everyday. Little things that I look at in my own home all the time, like a sliver of light skipping across a house plant or small moments with his wife and kids as they just go about living life.

It’s life unscripted, nothing posed or faked. Just real moments that he captures beautifully to create these small narratives that are incredibly fascinating to me. He has a very lyrical way of writing as well, nothing like myself in which I ramble on forever. His blog is honestly one of my favorite photographic places to visit and is one I’m finding incredibly inspirational.

In my darkest days I’ve found a glimmer of inspiration.

Patrick’s approach has me asking myself the question of what if? Why not? I have been thinking a lot lately about why I don’t share more of this type of work here. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing my longer think piece type of articles tackling those bigger thoughts in depth, but why does every article have to be just that?

What would it look like if I started to create and curate extra articles that are nothing more than documenting my life as it happens. I want to see where the photos take on a different feel depending on my mood or what is going on in my life. I don’t want it to be just a family journal of hey, look at some snapshots of my family. I want to focus on creating more work that is both satisfying artistically and in terms of the visual narrative of my day to day life.

I want to go back to how I used to shoot. Those times when I would happily lose myself visually exploring and finding beauty amidst the mundane. As I contemplated this over the last week or so, I was looking back on some photos from last spring. As I enjoyed the photos it hit me. The spark to make these kinds of images had never went out. I’ve sporadically created photos like this all this time, but I’ve never actually done anything with them in terms of sharing and curating them.

Suddenly my mind was thinking of how to arrange them to a series here on the journal or even how to use some of this work to create my first Zine.(Something I’ve been itching to do for about a year and a half now but didn’t/don’t know where to start)

I just want to say thank you.

That’s right. Thank you to all of you that follow what I’m doing here. Thank you to Patrick La Roque for being a fantastic source of inspiration all these years, but especially during this dark stretch lately. I don’t know that he’ll ever see this but Patrick, if you read this, know that you’ve helped remind me of the side of photography that really matters. Those personal family moments, slowing down to enjoy seeing life unfold around me. You’ve helped remind me to just enjoy the process and not worry about what the rest of the world thinks I should do.

With that I just want to say that I hope you guys will stick around as I begin to share some things here on my site that are a little out of the normal box I stay in. I’m feeling a shift that’s been slowing building for the last year. I don’t know where it’s going or what it will look like exactly, but I can feel it coming. But if you don’t like it, that’s ok too. I’ll still be writing these longer articles and sharing all of my normal photography creations, there will just be some other stuff being posted as well.

Take care everyone. Life is a dirty, messy, beautiful thing. Don’t ever give up on it. Learn to dance through the punishing attacks when it feels like it’s crushing us and always keep moving forward. We never know what great things might happen with the next step.

That’s it.

One step at a time, one foot in front of the other.


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