the lost man chronicles
the daily chronicle
Friday, August 4, 2006
Over the last couple of months I’ve been taking a lot less photos. Some of the more concrete reasons include:
Life Has Been Heavy (lately), so that I have been compelled to shed some weight, to push my passion for and dedication to photography to the periphery (at least for the moment).
I’ve Been a bit of a Vagabond, scooting from home to home, ushering boys between states, zooming back and forth between endeavors. Hence, I have had little time to take, edit, organize photos, as well as tell the stories behind them.
I Killed my Camera in a Bag Full of Vodka the other night after the Blink of an Eye Show, literally drowned it in a pool of Kettle One. Nice way to go though, eh? (that’s the Canadian in me).
Oddly enough though, for some inane reason I’m okay with this. Not only have I chalked it up as a lesson learned (i.e. debauchery has its price!), I also see it as a reason to stop and pause to reflect and repose. Then again, maybe I just haven’t sobered up yet.
Anyway, as a result of this resplendent blossom of chaos and circumstance, I’ve been doing a little introspection, and ultimately decided that it was time to take a retrospective look at my own work.
Although I have meticulously kept an active record of the 3000+ photos that have been deemed favorites by other flickr members, I have attempted to assess what I personally feel are the top ten (“favorite”) photos that I have taken over the last year, at least the ones that have had the greatest meaning for me. The photo collage above represents the results of this wholly subjective assessment, and the words that follow explain how and why I chose them.
You may notice that the photos in the collage do not constitute an exact 10—I suck at math. Moreover, life has never been a science for me, but it has always been an art.
0. This is My God
Not only has this long been the #1 favorite of flickr members, but it is also my own personal favorite. I suspect that it is not the photo though that makes it so popular, but the story that uplifts it and establishes it as an icon.
1. We Are One
In this case, it is actually the photo that is the story itself. It was taken at poolside while I was on a leisurely and fairly uneventful family vacation in the Poconos of Pennsylvania. It was not until I went into edit mode that I noticed all the coincidental elements: the finger juxtaposed in scale against the grasshopper, the vibrant colors, and the little boy in the background, about to step forward to jump into the pool. This for me, as in the tradition of Henri Cartier-Bresson, was one of my favorite decisive moments.
2. We Are Empowered
Oh, the sun, how amazing and wonderful you are! Without you, photography would not be. This photo and the set it represents, together, represent many of the photos (and sets) I have taken of the glory of our star.
3. A Night at the Waldorf
Once again, here for me, besides being a moment that felt as if it presented an insider’s view on a culture that a lot of people are not exposed to, I feel that the story behind this photo and the set it comes from makes it most meaningful to me and merits being in my top ten.
4. A Night on Broadway
Apart from being another quintessential decisive moment for me, I love this photo because not only does it capture the essence of the city I love, but it is symbolic of some of the good times I have had with friends I have met on flickr. Although, I still feel that the best pictures are usually taken when one is trekking alone, I am slowly acquiring a taste for being with others while taking photos, especially when it involves good times.
5. 25 Lessons I’ve Learned
As with a few of my top ten, this photo primarily represents a larger group or particular creative endeavor. 25 Lessons I’ve Learned is a small collection of a few observations I made about photography just 45 days into being on flickr.
After posting these lessons to the web, to my utter surprise, tens of thousands of people have continually visited the site. Subsequently, I was offered a book deal. And after some encouragement the original 25 pages has now become more than 250 pages that tell the amazing, quite surreal, story, as to why and how I have pursued photography with such passion.
6. The Lost Man Chronicles
Before photography, my greatest passion was writing. The word meant everything to me, because, as with photos, it allowed me to capture all the special moments in life. This photo represents one of my more important writing projects, the lost man chronicles, which I have retrospectively illustrated with many of my photos.
7. 100 New York Stories (High)
This photo, as well as its accompanying set, is meaningful because it combines both of my creative passions, as well as my undying love for and fascination with New York City. Here in this collection I share some of the amazing and formative experiences I have had while living here the last 15 years. Moreover, both the photos and the accompanying stories emphasize how I believe that the metropolis is rife with opportunities for photographers, writer and artists in general who want to capture the brilliance, the beguiling diversity and the many of amazing moments of our daily lives.
8. Life is Amazing
Life is amazing (period). That in and of itself explains what I feel and why I feel this photo constitutes one of my top ten. I often get riled up when I think about how amazing life truly is, and how through photography I have been able to capture this beautiful and wonderful and mesmerizing and fucking amazing life. I know it may sound silly and not very manly of me, but I will admit that I literally choke up sometimes when I think about how fortunate I am to see the world as I do.
In addition to summing up one of the most important tenets of my life, this photo also represents my cut-out technique, one that was recently featured in Germany’s premier photography magazine, fotomagazine. also, similar photos from my set, Elegance en Blanche, have also been published by a number of periodicals including: Look, The Renascent, and Gnostic Magazine.
9. Life is an Adventure
I have taken more risks over the last year while taking photos than I have cumulatively done over the first 37 years of my life—and I have loved every moment of it. I adamantly believe that having the courage to take risks is one of the secrets to both happiness and an extraordinary life, especially one in which you fulfill your potential as individual as you attempt to follow your bliss.
The process of learning photography over the last year has compelled me to run with the devil all too often—literally chasing skateboarders down the street, running in between busses, trespassing one too many times, traversing through decrepitating buildings, standing in the middle of streets with my back to traffic and having strangers scream “Watch out!,” as well as being harassed by law enforcement a number of times.
“Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible.”
- Cadet maxim, U.S. Military Academy, West Point -
10. These Are My Superheroes
Apart from my observations of everyday life, I am perhaps most inspired by interacting with my children.
For (quint)essentially they are my superheroes, my mentors and my muses. Thus, this photo represents merely one of a number of moments where they have taught me one thing or another, or at least reminded me as to what is most important in life.
Moreover, this photo also expresses how I believe my passion for photography expresses my love for them not only because they are my favorite subjects, but also because it demonstrates some of my values: to be passionate about life, to appreciate its beauty and to creatively take charge of your life, because it is not only precious, but fleeting.
Thanks for reading,
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