This morning I got to writing about the fact that I was perhaps not making Art as I take my daily photographs. I decided that maybe that was okay, that it was much more enjoyable to simply engage with my world, to exercise my curiosity and my visual expression on a daily basis.
This evening, I printed out some of my recent pictures for an upcoming meeting with some of my artist friends. I loved what I saw. Images are much more powerful on paper than they are on screen. There’s a precision and detail that is missing on a screen.
I’ve been wrestling in my mind about whether the tree branches and trunks and bark that I’ve been photographing obsessively are Art or if they’re just documentary. As I walked by my printed images and took a passing look at one of them, I realized that what I am doing is observing the natural world around me far more closely and over a longer period of time than most anyone does—and that alone is a wonderful thing.
What could be better than being fully present in the rich and beautiful world we are surrounded by? Doing this thing every single day of my life, as I am right now, is about the best thing I can imagine doing. How many of us simply rush through our existence doing things that we don’t want to do just in order to pay for our houses and cars and toys? I’m not doing that right now and it’s a truly wonderful thing. I am living, truly living. I am fully present in my life and my world, and it’s wonderful.
What’s more, I am sharing that experience, and the images I create as a result, with others. I am inviting you to share in my experience and, I realize now, inviting you to be more fully present in your lives, to examine how you are spending your days, your time, your life. That’s a pretty worthwhile thing to be doing indeed.
More worthwhile than making precious objects for wealthy people to decorate their houses with, which is what all my effort to make “Art” amounts to. I am challenging you to see the amazing things I see every day in simple things like tree branches overhead or the bark on a tree. The variety and perfection of these things is absolutely amazing and most of us walk past them every day without a second thought.