I wonder at times about the things in life that attract our attention while we don’t know why they attract us at the time. Sometimes its because of the beauty apparent in what we see. Other times its due to the ugliness. But most of the time its for no apparent reason.
However, as is often the case, understanding something usually occurs after encountering it. Such was the case with the above photo titled ‘Stripped’. A barren dead tree snag surrounded by lush green foliaged trees. I guess what initially attracted me was the starkness of the bare tree. How its bare branches contrasted against the green. At the time it held no meaning for me and its graphic nature made me stop and something inside said ‘make a photo’.
Although now, finding myself unable to carry out my business as usual I feel somewhat stripped as well; left unprotected from the uncertainty of the future just like those bare branches are left unprotected from the harshness of the elements.
Strange is the notion that having the ability to do something somehow imparts the sense of protection or control or stability from unfortunate future events. Strange how losing a physical possesion effects the intangible spirit. Strange how in-spite of being afforded every blessing in life from health to loved ones to our daily bread, we still feel bereft if we don’t have money. How unfortunate it truly is that we attach happiness with monetary wealth. Especially when we deal with fiat currency - paper has no true value in it – its only worth something as long as everyone believes it does. Even if the currency was something that had intrinsic worth, like gold, it does not persist. If we hoard our ‘money’ it is of no real benefit; we can’t eat it, we can’t wear it, it does not hug us or console us with soothing words when we hurt. And if we do use it, then its gone. Keep it or not, it cannot preserve us. Eventually we will expire and leave it behind if it did not already leave us.
I suppose then that it is not the ability to earn ‘money’ that brings us happiness, but the endeavor behind that earning. When we work as an employee we are paid a wage commensurate with the value of our service. If what we do is important to others, then we are compensated by them accordingly. If we work independently providing a service or product to others, we find satisfaction in what we sell when others buy it because we have facilitated ease or utility. This then has value, and while intangible it still brings benefit to all involved. Its just that in our age the compensation for our efforts is rewarded monetarily rather than by the transfer of necessities, such as food, clothing, shelter etc…
I photograph the world to share my joy in the beauty that I see. It brings me great satisfaction when another person finds solace or elation when viewing one of my works. If it was not a financial burden to produce them I probably would give them away for free, but alas they are not and so I do offer them for sale. And since we do live in a time where our livelihood is obtained via currency, the photos I sell are also the means by which I provide for myself and my family. Thus I think being stripped of my ability to bring beauty to others as well as seeking sustenance for myself and those that rely on me, has left me feeling how the tree in the above photo looks. And until I have the means once again to bring the photos to the world, I have to rely on the world, albeit the virtual one, coming to me to enjoy and purchase one for themselves from this virtual store.
Take care and enjoy what remains of Autumn.