Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Emotions That Make Me Human

Photo by: Lyndsie Post/Adolfo seeing video for the first time/Honduras
Current Location: Windsor, Ontario, Canada/ 42°19′60.0″N 83°1′60″W

It's easy to look thru glass, to see a filtered world and capture its beauty--a mosaic of culture and pixels coming together to document time. It's not hard at all. But what does make my job so daunting sometimes is finding the right balance--a balance between what's morally right and wrong, east and west, developed and developing--a constant juggling of two worlds colliding at the temple of my soul.

As a photographer, it's hard to be true to the lens, especially when documenting the developing world. A constant barrage of pressure builds upon your success to bring back images that speak to a global audience, images of need and desperation.

So as I sit here tonight, on the the eve of 2009, I reflect not upon what I've done or where I've been, but what I've missed.

Sometimes, when I'm at my best, film speed, frame rate, exposure, and sound dictate my every move. Like a hunter on the prowl, I look for my prey--images that tell the story of a people--a constant stream of light that's willing to dance at the vortex of my lens. And like a selfish bastard, I capture everything I can--savoring every ray of light 'til the sun sinks deep into the ground. Shoot now. Think and feel later.

When you're conditioned to do what I do, sometimes, you have no shame.

But when the moon begins to cast your own shadow on the wall and you're all alone at night, you begin to feel the emotions run through your body like a lost soul. Images of the people you've captured play back in the memory banks of your mind--forever real, forever yours. They're no longer just rays of light.

I can't begin to count the number of times I've cried alone in my hotel room. I can't even remember how I fell asleep some nights. And sometimes, during the long plane ride back, I'd sit there in silence--trying to recall everything I've missed: the emotions that make me human.

So as I sit here tonight, hours before I venture into the abyss of the new year, I reflect upon the triumphs and tragedies of our world, but also, to better myself at what I do, I can't go without reflecting on the trials and tribulations of this lowly photographer--trying desperately to capture that perfect image, of an imperfect society.

Happy new year and God bless.


Blogger note: This post was written on 12/31, but was completed and modified on 01/01.


Dan Denardo said...

Ron, I loved your passage "I reflect not upon what I've done or where I've been, but what I've missed". I couldn't agree more. As photographers (who want to make a difference, it's the cross we have to bear...a weight we always carry. It's also a catalyst that keeps us push, push, pushing...rarely satisfied. I'm grateful to have that catalyst buried deep in my soul. I suspect you are, too. It's a burden and a blessing. Happy New Year, my friend. Wishing you Peace & Happiness in '09. -D2

SearchingSoul said...

Hi Ron,

Your words pierced my heart. I am not a professional photographer like you and Dan, but I also have my lowly 'point and shoot' camera that I use shamelessly and thoughtlessly sometimes. Just like you, my afterthought would always be "What did I miss?" The saddest answer would always be "I missed feeling the moment."

Thanks for dropping by my post.
Happy New year.

Ron said...

Dan/Searching Soul,
I'm glad you understand how I feel. I was actually worried that I might sound like some sort of psycho with a camera :)


Angel said...

Hello Ron,

Thanks for dropping by my blog and leaving a comment. This is my first time here and first time to really appreciate a photographer's blog. I guess the reason behind that is not only can you capture pictures with a great story behind it,you can also write about your pictures and actually have great insights.

You are a great photographer and writer--a true artist. Keep writing. I will be following your blog.


Random Hiccups said...

This is truely a touching post. I often can relate, as if in our artistic mind we can either see, taste, and experience or practice our art. Never both.

I look over my writings and my paintings and I am a constant third party. Whilst appreciating the artistic meaning in a moment I fail to appreciate the human meaning.

I read through this post and thought to myself, this guy and I could have been seperated at birth.

Is that creepy? Maybe.

Happy New year to you too!

- RH

Anonymous said...

I know that I'm new to this, and your blog, but I dearly hope that you are not a psycho with a camera; beacuse I would dearly hate to start the new year off by following a psycho.

Ron said...

@ Angel: Thank you for your kind words. I really hope you continue to enjoy your visits to my blog...and that I won't dissapoint you.

@RH: Hmmm, I don't know...are we seperated from birth? Do you have a birth mark on your left _____ :)

Thanks for following my blog. I'm so glad there's people out there that feel what I feel.

@ Little J: Always watch out for pycho's with camera's, you just never know...(evil laugh).

Jay said...

When I read this, I completely understood... but from two different angles.

One - as a photographer, a capturer of time. ---Sometimes I get so caught up in THAT shot, that perfect moment, that I lose sight of what I am shooting completely.

Two- as a mom. My family is very active, we are always going and doing. We're all over the place. And where am I? Behind the camera. You can count the pictures that I am in on your fingers. I've missed out on alot... Now, the pictres that I have gotten - i would never trade. I ust sometimes wish that I would have been more in the moment, instead of in the zone.

Good post.

Ron said...

Jay, I think you've hit it right on..."more in the moment, instead of in the zone". Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Ron: I admire strongly the work that you do documenting the struggles of those around the world. I cannot begin to imagine the emotional struggles that you face alone after a day of looking through the lens at those situations. But the work that you do is so very, very important in reminding us that there are people who need our help and support and reminding us that we're so very fortunate in a multitude of ways.

I thank you!

Ron said...

Thank you, Carol for your kind words. It's encouragement I get from family and friends like you that keeps me going...and I'm glad I'm not the only one who beleives in making a different with a lens.


John said...

This is off topic ;)

Is that the same moment you sitting on the tripod, but shot from a different angle? Or another time? I suspect it's the same :)

Ron said...

@John: The man of off topics:
Yes, that is the same shot, just different angles. (I'm assuming you're talking about my banner, right) I'll be designing more once I get all my production photo's in from the trip.

floreta said...

you write beautifully! your job seems very interesting as well as rewarding. sometimes though, the camera keeps you from *really* seeing or experiencing a moment. but maybe it is just another way of experiencing. you have to 'shoot now. think later' because photography is kinda like brainstorming. you need divergent thinking in order to be successful at it and then stop to analyze/edit/pick and choose (convergent thinking) later.

Anonymous said...