Monday, May 18, 2009

The Surreal Life

Words on the side of a house in the mountain jungles of the Dominican Republic.

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately--a lot of contemplating about life and the work that I do. Normally, as my readers know me best, I'd be writing more often, but lately, I've been spending my time trying to navigate my way through life, through trepidation, fear, and the unknown.

But as I sit here typing this, there's a sense of sorrow that relinquishes from my heart--escaping through the pores of my soul, separating fact and fiction, rhyme and reason. Feeling the sweat between my fingers evaporate with every keystroke I type, I can't help but feel like I'm venting--transcribing every syllable of my emotions into an essay of potent prose. I really don't know why, but I just feel like typing. I just feel like writing to you, my dear readers. I wish I had felt like this more often as of late.

You know, it's been one week since I've returned from my last assignment in the Dominican Republic and I've yet to even tell you how it went--and for that, I am sorry. My excuse to you is quite pathetic: because as someone who see's the world through a lens, I've yet to accept that I was even there. Sometimes, I'm so lost in motion that it doesn't matter what country I'm in, where I'm going, or who I'm shooting--all that matters is that I'm capturing it the best I can. The task is embedded in my soul, which in the end, makes life feel formidably surreal.

And because of that, I've paid the price. It feels like I'm living a dream. The world to me is a kaleidoscope of moving shapes, appearing and disappearing, never the same. To me, nothing is obvious. For instance, when it rains I don't see puddles of water or feel the rain drops pelting my body, but through my lens, I do notice the way it slices the air, the way it ricochets off the ground and how it collectively bonds to everything it touches. Adjusting my aperture and rack-focusing between foreground and background, I'd bring to life the budding flower that feed off the water. It scares me how I see this, but if I would have taken my eyes away from my viewfinder for just one minute, I might've realized the fact that I'm 3000 feet above sea level, standing on sacred ground, and witnessing what few will ever see. I've missed the feeling of what it's like to be there, to see, to hear, to embellish and lose myself in the environment I'm in. Most times, I'd return home a few days later and never realize where I'd been until weeks or months after I'm back. It makes me wonder what else I've been missing in life. I see so much, yet I miss so many. But please don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming my job or my camera. I blame myself.

A few months ago a good friend of mine told me to "stop and smell the roses." To which I replied, "I do. But just in a different way."

I guess, for me, seeing and experiencing the world takes time. And like a flower flourishing in the midst of thunder and lightning, in time, beauty will prevail. Roses will bloom. The sun will shine. But before you know it, time is no longer on your side. The winds change. The sun sets--and like the tide that recedes when seasons change--we too, must change with it.

The hardest thing for me in life is not finding direction or knowing where I want to be or who I want to become, no--but finding balance--finding an equilibrium between family, career, myself, and the world I walk upon. It's about finding the change I need to make in order to better balance my life. And maybe when I do find that change, I'd see so much more than just what the lens can capture.


Random Hiccups said...

Your posts continuously leave me breathless, Ron.

I too can feel a loneliness like you describe. You are not alone. Even in your loneliness.

Hillbilly Duhn said...

I agree with Random Hiccups. You leave me breathless with your posts.

I can feel from the words typed out on the page, your anguish, your pain. The loneliness seaps through.

Oh, Ron. Life is just that. It slips away before we've grasped it. Leaves us wondering and wanting, shifting and balancing on a high wire we never knew was there. Though sometimes, if we can crawl out of the deep hole in which we've dug for ourselves and figure out who WE are, then we can move forth with a brighter eye, and a better realization for what we are looking for.

In short: Close your eyes, and Jump. Cannon Ball into the cold waters of life and scream!! :)

Sarah, The New Girl said...

I like using my camera to see the world. But sometimes, when you peek your eye above, you see that your eyes can fit much more into a frame than a camera.

Sometimes life just gives us funny emotions. They're there to remind us that we're vulnerable, and also to help us appreciate those times that feel happy and perfect.

Love the picture at the top of the post :)

Sebastian said...

Hehe, I'm glad (ish) that there's another photographer out there that feels the same way that I do.

I travel a lot too, but I actually leave my camera behind sometimes. I'll just head out into the town or village or undergrowth with just the clothes on my back and some money.

As Sarah said, just taking your eye away from the viewfinder for a second can give you an entirely different view of things; a shockingly altered view...

But then, some things HAVE to be captured on film, for the rest of the world to see.

My main regret actually is not travelling with other people, not being able to share a beautiful sight with a girl by my side. I just have to hope that my photos are a good substitute... which of course, they're not, but they'll have to do :)

Alexandra said...

You never fail to move me, Ron. After being away from blogging for awhile do to vacationing in San Francisco, this was so lovely to come back to. You are love.

Ron said...

@Random Hiccups: Thank you for your kind words. It means a lot to me.

@ Hillbilly: I love your advice at the end of your comment--how we should just close our eyes and canon ball into cold waters--wow. I'd love to do it, and I think I am.

@Sarah: I think I definately have to peak over the camera more often. Sometimes, the hardest assignments are the ones that are in and out--becuase you never really get a sense of where you are. Thank you so much for reading.

@Sebastian: I too regret not having someone with me while I travel. Sometimes, it gets very lonely and you really feel like no one is there for you. I'm glad there's someone out there that feels what I feel. Thank you!

@Alexandra: Thank you for reading. I'm glad your back safe and sound. Hope you had a wonderful vacation.

Desert Rat said...

This contemplating about our lives thing seems to be going around worse than swine ;-).

I can see how your job would not allow you to have the time to even realize where you are or your surroundings; it is a tough pull but I appreciate all the photos you share and other photographers, photographes of events I would have never otherwise seen. that doesn't help you much but it's an honest thanks ;-)

Bon Don said...

Welcome back my friend! I understand about feeling like you didn't quite "soak it up" at the exact moment you were there...heck I'm not behind a lens but my brain takes a few days to process everyday things for me! :)

Young Traveler said...

When you experience a sensory overload, it takes time to process.

As always, beautifully stated. I nearly cried reading this.

floreta said...

interesting.. it's almost like you are living in the present moment each time, just concentrating on the shots you must capture.. very fine tuned.. but at the same time, time catches up with you not until you're away. it seems like a time lapse of sorts. living in the present yet missing it? i understand though.. you miss so much yet SEE so much with a camera. just in different ways.

TheChicGeek said...

Oh, Ron, you make me cry with your beautiful and heartfelt words. You are such a special person. It is true when living through the lens of a camera you miss certain things. I've been places with camera and returned without camera just to fully experience the scene, to breathe it in, let it all envelope me. You must always take that time...I believe we need it to feed our souls. Your talent is tremendous and your pictures allow others to experience things we can only dream about. I thank you for that.
Stay Safe and Many Blessings To You!
Kelly aka TheChicGeek :)

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