First…Happy Mama’s Day to all of those great mamas out there! I adore getting all of the little homemade gifts from my girlies…they are so sweet – – the girls and the gifts! In a card that my oldest daughter wrote…she listed all of the things that I am. And at the end of the list, past all of the typical ‘loving’, ‘caring’, ‘helpful’ -type adjectives , she wrote different. A little odd to have on a Mother’s Day card, but quite frankly, I think that was the best word on there…especially coming from my 9 year old. Who, as she sits on the precipice of a rapidly changing and potentially hair raising (for me!) few years, is beginning to understand exactly why being different is such a beautiful thing.
Yesterday I was very lucky to have been able to attend a talk given by writer Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the national bestselling Eat, Pray, Love. She spoke at a high school in New Hope, PA, which was a much smaller and more intimate venue than where her usual speaking engagements are held. So my dear friend and I, along with 300 or so other Liz Gilbert devotees poured into the auditorium and held on to her every last word.
I was not sure what she’d discuss, but I was somewhat pleasantly surprised when she did NOT talk about at length, the phenomenal Eat, Pray, Love. After all, we certainly had all read it over and over (and over and over)…so why talk more about it? One topic that she discussed which really struck a chord with me was how artists struggle, usually with themselves, on the value and success of their work. When are we successful? Will we ever be able to recreate a particular successful piece/photograph/book/etc. We certainly all have different views on the success of our art, but her main point was simply that we, as artists, need to channel the ‘genius’ given to us and create art for the sake of art, and for the sake of other people. I’m not a genius, by any stretch of the imagination…but every now and then I’m given a glimpse of genius and it is my job to take that and meld it with my experience, skill and vision…to create art for somebody else.
And for me, as a people photographer, no truer words could be spoken. Photographers have laws on our sides – – copyright laws clearly state that all images belong to the photographer, regardless of who is in the photograph. And we sometimes take that to another level, thinking that the photographs that we create are all about us. But they aren’t. The photographs that I create have nothing to do with me. At the end of the day, the photographs that are taken are not really mine.
But they still aren’t free.