Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Two Suits

Lately, I've been dealing with the dilemma of identity. What this means is that it's becoming increasingly difficult to work as both a writer and photographer, not because I have a preference for one or the other, but due to the rationing of time. The occasional assignment aside, neither endeavor pays very well and success-- never quite so based on superficial metrics of popularity and earnings-- is usually qualified by my personal satisfaction, that such and such story and photo is perhaps uniquely mine. Nevertheless, I find that lately I have less capacity to devote myself to both disciplines. This means making hard choices and the purging of some indulgences. However, between writing and shooting, I don't know if it will ever be possible to choose one over the other.
            Failing that, and because, lately, taking pictures comes more naturally to me than the complex process of constructing either a story's narrative or an essay's thrust, I'm feeling that the best compromise is to put them together. I've already been doing this for several years with my haiku project, but minimalist poetry is one thing, digressive thoughts inspired by a moment in time, another.
            In March, my wife had a birthday and one of the presents I bought for her was a photobook from Danny Lyon called "Memories of Myself." Lyon is probably most famous for riding with and photographing Midwestern biker gangs in the sixties, but this photobook is a collection of images from different times of his life-- the bikers, of course, but also crossdressers in Galveston, Texas, a lover in Knoxville, revolution in Haiti, and prostitutes in Columbia, among others. The photos, already beautiful, had deeper resonance with some context. Lyon once said, "The use of the camera has always been for me a tool of investigation, a reason to travel, to not mind my own business, and often to get into trouble."
           In the spirit of inspiration, I will try to do the same with my photography here, not exactly saying what a photo is about, but lingering on what the moment meant to me. Not a caption, per se, but a loose elaboration.
           Because most of us don't fit into one suit, but many, or in my case, two.


No comments:

Post a Comment