Having fun yet? Isn’t photography fun? I mean, what other pursuit allows you to travel all over the world, get to see lots of glorious places, and come back with visual treasures, right? Am I right? You know I’m right.
The trouble is, sometimes, in pursuit of these far away “treasures” we often neglect the process of making art itself. What do I mean by that? Allow me to explain. The other day I was asked about it in this manner. “Do you make art or artifacts?” The difference being artifacts are often the result of traveling to some faraway land and coming back with a treasure of some kind. Yes, it’s a visual treasure and, yes, you may love it with every fiber of your very being but, and you really have to ask yourself this question, is it really art you’re making or is it something else?
Art comes from the heart, the soul, that deep well inside of us. It isn’t a “treasure” in the traditional sense. It’s the realization even the embodiment of a vision, an artistic vision. It’s what you realize after you “see it” in your head. It’s a spiritual thing really, even if you don’t believe in that sort of a thing. It comes from a higher, maybe even a deeper place. It’s not a breadcrumb you drop along a trail.
I guess these days, with the Internet being what it is, with the world being the way it is, many people want to go to certain places. Bucket lists, we all have bucket lists. I want to go here, I want to go there, to photograph this place or that thing or…that’s great, I’m not suggesting it isn’t wonderful and that we shouldn’t go ahead and do all of that, but is that really making art? Art in its true form? I suspect you know what I’m going to say here. You don’t have to travel to make art. You don’t need a “bucket list” or, heck, even worse, you don’t have to stack up against somebody else’s random bucket list. You don’t have to go to Iceland because it’s cool or see Paris because it’s there. Really, you don’t. You can make art quietly, without Facebook or Twitter, by the light of the moon, in your own little, private studio. Without anyone knowing even that you made it really. And, that sort of art, why, it doesn’t have to be like moose droppings-something we’ve left along a trail. No, it can be a quiet celebration that pulls from a well deep inside our own little bubble. Sometimes, maybe lately anyway, it seems like we don’t get enough of this kind of art. Like we’re collectively all so busy dropping artifacts, we’ve forgotten to breathe. I’ve talked a bit about this before too. Like how in Texas in the springtime anyway, everybody wants to get bee on a bluebonnet picture. It’s like we all have this mental checklist of shots we want to, maybe we feel we even need to get, and our lives must not go only until we nail them. It’s great to do that. I honestly hope everybody gets to realize some of the shots they’ve always wanted to take, but it’s not the same as making art.
Art brings forth something from nothing. Art is the manifestation of creativity. Art represents the handmade, the one of a kind, the voice, the vision, the soul of the maker. It’s personal. It’s that quiet voice in the woods that calmly whispers to you, while all the other moose are rampaging, to sit down and watch the water in the stream flow over the rocks. We don’t have enough art in the world. Perhaps we have made far too many artifacts to notice. But, it does beg the questions. Are you having fun? Are you busy? Are you busy making art or artifacts?
Something to think about maybe for today.
Until next time…
PS This one taken with the Canon baby Mark at the carnival. I stuck my camera inside the Tilt-A-Whirl. I guess that’s one way to make art, eh?