You've Got to Start Somewhere...
I need someone to go online right now -- to Google or whatever -- and track down the name of the phobia that keeps me from blogging the way I want to.
I have been putting this off for more than a handful of years (I think I’ve wanted to blog since I first heard of them more than 20 years ago) so I guess today's blog topic is going to be dealing with fear. Fear of what? Well, it's not fear of uploading text files to the Internet - that's a simple process. I can do that from my tiny home on the extreme edge within the frozen northern thingy/whatever of Alaska, with absolutely no difficulty at all. Nope. No, siree Bob. Easy as pie.
And I can assure you, dear reader, It certainly ain’t fear of having zero readership - I have achieved that, and have maintained it every day for better than a half a century, depending on one’s POV.
Its fear of not being heard, maybe... fear of being just another drop in the ocean; a shout into outer space. Or fear of getting it wrong; of angering readers with an opinion or stance. And, my God - when did that happen? That we dare not risk offending the occasional troll, lest the “unidentified” world attack us and berate us and crush us back into oblivion whence we emerged? Heaven knows those very trolls have taught us all how cruel the baser among us can become with a whiff of anonymity. Another factor might well also be fear of compromising my essence in the face of trying to appeal the majority of readers - in my imagination, a dedicated, scrappy insurgency that’s driving my campaign to be Mayor of Blandville.
But, in the final analysis, I believe trying to identify fears is about as valuable as determining which bullet from the machine gun shattered your favorite lamp; you've got bigger problems, dude. In the end, I'm just a guy who, after 30 years in an office-based cubicle, decided at the tender age of 55 that it's time to - not become an artist; I always believed I was one, way down in the ‘quiet-never-say-it-out-loud-in-case-people-might- laugh-and-taunt-and-ignore-me-when-reindeer-games-start-up’ kinda way, but to start acting and speaking as one. Until now, I simply had no self-confidence. Absolutely none. Until right now.
I may very well wind up being wrong (although I believe any reasonable definition of “art” has to include a clause describing that “right” and “wrong” simply don't exist in the discussion), or unheard, or any number of other things. That's not the point. One of my core beliefs is that the only true failure is to have never tried at all. Risk doesn't hurt us. Failure doesn't hurt us. Apathy does.
I heard a wonderful quote many years ago while listening to my friend describe how she deals with the fears that stop her from living the life she wants. She said "Sometimes I can overpower my fears, and push forward. The rest of the time, I take my fear by the hand and say 'Okay, come on - let's go!'"
So, I've decided that I'm going to put out a weekly blog about a couple of things I love. And what is that? Well, I'm going to write about art in the most general sense because it's the thing that makes me feel most alive. While exploring that galaxy-sized, invisible Leviathan, I'm going to write a tiny bit about Adobe Lightroom, because that's the software I use to organize my photos, and I'm going to write a ton about Adobe Photoshop, because that's where I do my combined image compositing work to create my idea of art: that is, I photograph human beings in a studio, then I composite them into magical, surrealistic settings.
So, it occurs to me that, before you would probably be willing to invest any of your time in listening to me discuss my art, it would be a really good idea to tell you just a little bit about myself first, so you can make a relationship with me and honest and mutually kind experience up-front - because I’m not here to influence you; I may inadvertently engage in a bit of education as my writings unfurl, but mostly, my desire is to engage you - your mind, your passions, and maybe, every once in a while, the seat of your pants.
To begin the mercifully brief “me” extravaganza, I guess you could say my most important mental/socio-economic/spiritual/psycho-mechanical aspect - my 'soul word' - is Freedom: initial, Jacque Cousteau-esque exploration of said freedom began three years ago when I retired forever from the workforce at the age of 53. And that embryonic beginning has exploded to include such glorious aspects of the ultimate “f” word as the freedom to create, to imagine beyond my conscious mind; freedom from ridicule. Freedom to express, to explore, to expand my belief in all of us. My favorite mental rocket fuel is remembering that the only barrier between mundane reality and the magical fantasies of our childhood imagination is permission.
As far as my art pieces, which I feature and discuss one by one in future blogs, I work on my composites sometimes for years; worry over them, nurture them, scolding them one moment then begging their forgiveness the next - until I absolutely love them.
In another molecule-thin slice’s view of my life, I am a fine art/conceptual, portrait, fashion and glamour photographer with more than 30 years behind a lens, exploring the new Age of Art as a mixed media digital artist, defining my vision with surrealism, grandly-bold colors within dreamlike settings... presenting my truth: that the world is ultimately beautiful and hopeful. That doesn’t mean I deny the darkness and rot and fear that surrounds us all; it means I believe love is strongest of all and will out.
I'm more than an Alaska-based photographer; I'm an image maker, a coordinator, a director, a story-teller - a creative. My work has more of an artistic, story-based, emotive theme. I orchestrate juxtapositions of beauty/fashion/fun/fantasy with an incredible wild/brutal landscape or setting. I hope my models slip into them like interesting, glittering jewels.
I don't merely tell a story with my work; I tell most of a story, with myriad possible endings... That's when my viewer and I achieve equal footing - we can't wait to see how it ends. I photograph beautiful humans and create worlds.
People who've inspired me: Zack Arias for his salt-of-the-earth, charming, fearless and honest approach to all things creative; Joe McNally, with his humble, hard-working, almost blue-collar, working-stiff exterior: I believe he's one of the top five record keepers of the human spark of the last century.
At this point, I don't even care anymore how many years I've been putting this off or how many false starts I've had or anything else. I'm just going to say a little prayer and start posting. I do hope you enjoy the journey. To be honest, I'm really excited right now….
So - in closing - a few promises. First, if I should blog from now until my blogging retirement party fifty years hence (from my keyboard to God’s ear), I hope you never know where I stand politically. I tend to avoid conversations about politics, current events, and religion in everyday life; here, banishing these topics will be the only religion I profess. Also - I need this to be a place of safety and creativity for me, so my only policy is this: if you make a comment that’s in any way negative or confrontational or judgemental from my perspective, you’re simply gone: no explanation, no snappy or snotty response (God help me) - just gone.
So here’s to the launch of the S.S. Blog! I’m completely excited about this journey I'm just beginning - an exploration of how to change a middle-aged (middle-aged? I must say I don’t know many 110-year-old people) --AHEM-- middle-aged retired telephone man into a touchy-feely artist type human. Fully, feeling-ly, flawed-ly, human.