Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Arrington Ranch

George Washington Arrington, Jr

One of my favorite movies is "Castaway" starring Tom Hanks.  At the beginning of the movie you see a very busy and hectic Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) looking at his stop watch and keeping up the pace for a new FedEx location in the Soviet Union.  Chuck Noland is all about time.  Little did he know but his whole concept of time was about to change.

On his return trip, his plane goes down somewhere in the Pacific.  He is the only survivor.  He now has to figure out how to stay alive and even if he should stay alive.  The loneliness becomes so great that he befriends an inanimate object, a Wilson volleyball which he aptly names "Wilson".  Wilson becomes his best friend and truly a great listener.  Noland's sustains himself with the hope of seeing his finance again.  The days linger and hope appears to wane.

A package with what appears to angel wings becomes his inspiration for escape from the island and its tumultuous waves.  He creates a raft woven together with palm leave strings and concocts an impromptu sale from a porta-potty door.  Chuck Noland escapes with a plan and his hope in tact.

Time indeed past and Noland found that his best friend's wife had died, that Tennessee had a football team, and that his fiance lost hope and remarried.  Time moved on but he was alive sustained by hope.  He starts on his journey to get his life back.  As the movie draws to an end, we see him deliver the now famous package, the one that gave him the idea of how to sail from the island and overcome the surf and reef. 

We see Chuck on a dusty road trying to find the address of the package's rightful owner.  No one is home and he leaves the package and writes a simple note:  "This package saved my life."  He leaves and heads down the road where he finds himself at a symbolic intersection, a crossroads.  There he meets a lady stranger who inquires where he headed.  She happens to be the owner of the lost package.

Ever since, I viewed that movie, I've wondered about that crossroad.  I felt like I had to go there.  Finally this past week, I made it to the crossroad south of Canadian, Texas and north of Mobitee.  It was there that I met the grandson of the original ranch owner Cap George Washington Arrington.


His grandson, George, was extremely gracious and gave me a royal tour of the ranch.  I couldn't believe all the tales that he could tell me about his grandfather and his legacy on the high plains.  It was a shame to have to leave George and he knew I wanted to hear more.  He sent me a book regarding his Grandfather and he left me with wonderful memories of what can happen at the crossroads.


Soup Lady of Canadian, Texas

"Soup Lady"
Stefanie Campbell

Traveling through the panhandle of Texas, proved to be the most rewarding part of my trip.  One of my stops previously mentioned was in Canadian.  There I stopped at a very quaint old time soda parlor adjoining a very special antique store.  Everything was vintage and pristine.

It was too early to have my own custom malt, so I opted instead to have a latte.  I sat at the counter and just took in all the details of memories gone by.  I was in a good place.  Although I  had not grown up here, I recall going to my hometown malt shop back in Connecticut.  I remember how I was no longer in a hurry.  It didn't matter where I was going or when.  I just enjoyed the slower pace of a small town

About that time, I met and saw a very interesting lady.  She brought in a kettle of homemade soup.  I struck a conversation with her and we didn't remain strangers for long.  I introduced myself and she told me her name was Stefanie.  She held three degrees including one in English she told me.  I asked her what her true passion was.  She smiled and told me that her real passion was making soups and cooking.   How interesting I thought as I became more curious about her passion.  More questions followed.

She explained further how she ran across her passion.  Her son has special needs and also suffers from seizures.  They spent six months away from home at the Mayo Clinic.  During that time she read over two hundred cook books to pass the time.  I smiled as she related her story.  She found her passion during what could have been a personal crisis.

We talked for what appeared to be forever.  Two strangers talking about personal passions and journeys. Since she had given me a rich story; I gave her some soup ideas like crema de dos colores (cream of two colors) and my white tequila "paloma" recipe.  Perhaps it was purely coincidental to have met her that day, but I can tell you  that for the rest of my life, when I eat a bowl of soup, I will wonder about the "soup lady" from Canadian, TX.  She blessed me that day with both a smile and her story.  I never would have guessed that at the beginning of my hesitant journey, I would have found so many stories and images.  

Some of us find our passion and joy when we least expect it.  It may be even late in life.  We need to be receptive that it will come to us at any time.  Our ability to capture it is limited by the measure of our willingness to open up both heart and mind.  Stefanie turned a trying time into a new passion,  in as much, she found recipes for a good life.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Wide Open Spaces



After driving over 1,700 miles since this past Sunday, I can tell you first hand that there are plenty of wide open spaces from Keller (near Fort Worth, TX) to Taos and back.  These expanses are majestic natural forms of art.  The clouds form shapes that appear and disappear before your eyes.  You become the spectator of nature's live exhibition.

The beauty of these spaces are that you can see for miles without obstruction.  You can view all around you.  Things are clear:  clouds,skies, rainbows, and plains.  All for you to see.  Finding yourself in these expanses becomes less of an issue.  You are here where you belong.  You were born to partake of something greater than you. Life unfolds before your eyes.

There's something special about it all.  It makes me pause. I wonder again is there a reason why we have a pair of each: feet, legs, hands, eyes, ears, nostrils, but we have only one mouth? Did the universe design us to participate more than speak?  

If it's true that actions speak louder than words, then we must listen to that uneasy feeling that beckons us.  We are called to act and to witness life firsthand with all of our senses.

When I die I don't want anyone lamenting my life.  I want people to say that he lead a full life; "he died with his eyes closed and his heart open".  Whatever it is that the wide open spaces of life discloses for you, find your joy.  I got a glimpse of it and I would like to share it with you.

Today is my birthday.  This is my gift.  It's not for me, it's for you.  Accept this gift and advice from a friend:  "find the joy in your life".


Thursday, July 29, 2010

What's Wrong with Chasing Rainbows?





Some might say that I am a dreamer, a rainbow chaser.  Others say that I am too theoretical, too much of a thinker.   I choose to feel and experience life.  My eyes, ears, and heart are wide open.  For the rest of my life, I choose to keep on dreaming and to chase rainbows.

I've been lucky in this life.  Many of my dreams have come true.  I've done things that I dreamed of as a child and experienced them as an adult.  I am far from done dreaming.  There are still many more things that I would like to come true.

If the worse criticism that people can give me is about dreams and rainbows, then I choose to keep dreaming and chasing rainbows.  My life is rich even though I am not.  My journey has taken me to and through some incredible places.  My heart was open and receptive to what the universe had to share with me.

Choose to chase dreams and rainbows.  Let your heart feel, your eyes see, your nose smell, and your ears hear.  Experience life with all of your senses and you will find the joy it has to offer.  Open up and let yourself feel.  It truly is the only way to live, one frame at a time.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Canadian

"This Package Saved My Life"
Chuck Noland's Quest For Meaning
Canadian, Texas

You might say that I've been on a pilgrimage.  A personal quest to find myself and to reconnect with those around me.  My pilgrimage took me to Canadian, Texas where I found some very friendly folks and fantastic stories.

Yes, both of these images should look familiar to you.  If you've seen the movie Castaway, you can almost visualize Chuck Noland, Tom Hanks, himself at the crossroads then driving down the dusty road to the place of the person/package "who saved" his life.

For whatever reason, it was important for me to find this place and that crossroad.  It's exactly where I am spiritually.  I am desperately trying to find my compass, my purpose.  My sense of direction has been distorted by the wrong priorities and work that consumed my time and my life.

Just like the movie a stranger came up to me and asked if he could help me.  It was none other than George Washington Arrington, grandson of the original owner of the house and the ranch, Captain George Washing Arrington.  George was larger than life and was more than willing to tell a stranger about his family and life on the Arrington Ranch.  

Now I believe that things happen for a reason.  Time doesn't permit me to go into more detail today about George and about Canadian, but I promise I will tell you more.  For now, I've got more miles to cover on this journey.  I can tell you George and the good folks of Canadian have made the journey worthwhile.

Wilson, I'm sorry.  I didn't mean it. Wilson!!!!!  I promise I will tell more of the story

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Must Be The Moon


Moon over Palo Duro

Just thought I would share this quickly with you.  I heard there was a full moon and I altered my plans to spend a second night in Amarillo so that I could head down to Palo Duro Canyon.  The moon started to show us its glory shortly after after 9:15.  I should have plenty more to work from when I get home.


All in all, for someone who didn't know where he was headed, the journey proved to be extremely worthwhile.  This sojourner is tired though.  I will have to weave my stories when I am more rested.  The universe has plenty of stories to tell us.  We just have to make the time to break away and take in the life that is constantly unfolding in front of us.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Looking Back


Looking Back 
Headley, Texas

Today was a huge experiment.  I didn't really think that I would get in the car and just drive.  I've no real plans but already I've captured some interesting images.  The shot above was taken around sunset facing east.  The plains were nicely lit.  I wanted to do something different, so I use the only tool I had my iPhone.    The experiment worked.  I shot separate exposures for both the foreground and the sky.  It turned out quite nicely for on the fly.

Happened to find this chicken on the other side of the road at Mosley Trading Post in Henrietta, TX.  This chicken was meant for me.  Although I caught the chicken I was not chicken today.  I am grateful that my inquietud forced me to go out today.  I can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring me.  I can feel the creative side stirring within.  Thank you Eunice, Harry, and Dan.  Thanks to all of you who have continued to encourage me all of these past months.

Sometimes, instead of looking forward to what is dead ahead, we need to just look back.  We need to figure out how to take it all in.  It makes the journey so much more fulfilling.  I know it firsthand now.


* If you enjoy my work and wish to see more of it please visit me at elidigital.  All images are for sale.  Prices will vary on the sizes that you want or need and whether they are matted.  My 6x9 images start at $75 and are printed on 8.5x11 archival paper stock.  I can also print 13x19 on 17x22 paper.  If you really desire a larger print, I can also print up 20x30.  Some of you may prefer to have these prints as cards.  I make a very handsome set of limited edition cards (eight to a gift box) with matching envelopes for $35 plus shipping.  Feel free to show your friends too.  Hopefully, by early next month, I will have a professional site with an online store.  In the mean time, feel free to contact me.

Inquietud


I've been having this feeling for a while; a feeling that I need to be doing something worthwhile.  It's one of those sensations that just wont go away.  It's an uneasiness that you need to be doing and making something of your life.  It's never bothered me as much as it has these past couple of years.

When I write and when I photograph those feelings subside; perhaps my true nature is appeased.  My need to communicate surfaces.  I enjoy relating stories and making a difference.  My images are my attempt not only to make you feel better, but to put you in my shoes as I see the world.  Even the desert is misnamed, it's not barren.  Death Valley taught me that lesson well.

Today, I am packing my camera and my bags.  I am on a journey.  Don't ask me to where because I really don't know exactly.  It will take me through the Texas panhandle and somewhere through New Mexico.  All I know it that I have this feeling.  In Spanish we call it inquietud.  It's unsettling but I have to listen to the overwhelming urge to move and to act.  I have a purpose, I know I do.  The lens and camera will act as my purpose divining rod.  This time I will let the journey lead me.  

The full moon is coming  tomorrow.  Let's see what I discover.  Thanks Harry and Dan for jump starting me on this journey.  God knows I've been stuck for a while.  Thanks Kim for letting me explore.  

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Promise of Today


Zabriske Point

We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aid, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn. 
Henry David Thoreau 

While dreams and purpose drive us, it is the anticipation that tomorrow will be better that keeps us alive.  The promise of hope that while today finds us miserable, tomorrow could be better.  It has endured generations.  A torch carried by every parent and every immigrant to this country.

Each new morning brings us hope that it could be better today.  Our hurt, our despair, our pain may all succumb by the glory of a new day.  For some of us it's our spiritual faith.  Regardless of religion, we share this belief:  things aren't bad forever.

Greet the morning and embrace the expectations of new day.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Love the Morning


A Good Morning in Zion


Some of you may know that my father owned a bakery.  I learned to get up early with him.  Sometimes, I would have to join him and help out.  There were times that I actually had to make bread deliveries for him.  All this before my high school classes started.  Fortunately, I didn't have to do it all the time.

Even though I had to get up early, I grew to love the mornings.  There was something special about the quietness.  It was as if I was personally getting a sneak preview of everything for the day.  I had my own personal invitation.  

Still today, I enjoy being the first one up in my house.  In the quietness of the morning, I gather my thoughts.  It's when I do my best reflection and thinking.  When I travel, I especially enjoy getting up early.  I take the opportunity to capture my images before the onset of human traffic and the breaking of the morning sun.  Try embracing the morning and enjoy what each ray of light unfolds for you.





Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Desert Perspective


Death Valley

The journey takes us through many places.  Some are lush and some are barren.  Regardless, after a while your eye makes sense of what it sees.  It will find the beauty that surrounds you.  It maybe that you are looking too closely at the barren rocks, you may have to stand back and view a different panorama.  Put some distance between yourself and what you think you see.

You've heard it before:  beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Try changing your perspective along the journey.  Things will appear to have changed.  Your eye will find that shapes and forms are equally beautiful as color.  It's good that the journey takes us through the desert.  We learn to find and appreciate all forms of beauty.  We awaken to its many faces.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Switch



My son-in-law, Travis, works for the BNSF railroad.  A third generation railroad man, he drives the huge locomotives and knows more about trains and railroad tracks than I do.  He probably could describe this better than me.

As the engineer goes on his journey there are switches along the way.  These switches alter his journey, they put him on a different track.  The engineer is dependent on someone else to do that job, the switchman. 

Although we lead independent lives, our journey depends on others like the switchman.  They help us reach our final destination safely.  I believe that we meet them along the way.  We need to listen to them like shamans and as harbingers of omens.  If you listen and watch, you will stay on track.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Don't Know Where


One thing I know for sure is that I'm on track.  The only problem is that I don't know what I am on track to.  I look down the rail bed and tracks;  it seems endless.  I really can't see where I'm headed or what's around the bend.  The journey will come to end I know.  It can't go on forever.

Sometimes we are too preoccupied with what is down the tracks.  There is plenty to notice to the right and left of us.  I wonder if I should develop my peripheral vision more.  It's time to enjoy what is happening along the tracks.  It could very well be that I've been missing the best part of the journey.  There's so much going on and some of it has passed me by.  My focus has been too far down the tracks.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Balance


Got To Have Balance

In nature, we observe perfect balance.  It follows that our lives need balance.  Sometimes the physical, mental, spiritual aspects get eroded and weathered by time and a myriad of other things that erode our lives such as work and worry.  These things constantly grind at our core.  If we let them, they will mold us into something that we truly weren't meant to be.

Pulling away, taking to time to restore balance in our lives is essential.  Take time, in fact, make time to restore your balance.  Find your inner peace and get reacquainted with who you really are.  Pause and reflect.  Enjoy each breath of life you have and be grateful for the gift of life.  You got to have balance in your life.  

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Currents of Change


Boulder in Stream

Sometimes we hold steadfast to old ideas and beliefs.  Like the boulder above, we fight the swift currents of change.  Change envelops us.  Resisting change takes more energy.  Energy that could be better utilized elsewhere.  The river keeps moving and we fight the currents of change.

It's easier to let the river's energy guide us to our next destination.  The river teaches us another lesson along our journey.  It's better to let it run it's course.  Learning to flow with it is a difficult lesson.  Our ego resists change.  I don't know where it will take me but I trust it's energy will take me to a better place with less effort.  The currents nudge me and I need to let go.  The river beckons me further down.  My journey continues further down the river.


* If you enjoy my work and wish to see more of it please visit me at elidigital.  All images are for sale.  Prices will vary on the sizes that you want or need and whether they are matted.  My 6x9 images start at $75 and are printed on 8.5x11 archival paper stock.  I can also print 13x19 on 17x22 paper.  If you really desire a larger print, I can also print up 20x30.  Some of you may prefer to have these prints as cards.  I make a very handsome set of limited edition cards (eight to a gift box) with matching envelopes for $35 plus shipping.  Feel free to show your friends too.  Hopefully, by early next month, I will have a professional site with an online store.  In the mean time, feel free to contact me.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Why Don't Ducks Get Bored?

Ducks in a Row

As I was taking my usual daily walk, I noticed these ducks swimming.  They made me curious.  I started asking myself, do ducks ever get tired of the water?  Sounds like a simple question.  The answer is both simple and profound.  You see ducks love the water, that's their passion, they were born to swim.  They are doing what they were meant to do.

Many of us have had careers that have offered us little pleasure other than income.  We complain but never ask why?  We suffer from chronic boredom unlike ducks.   Are we ducks doing what we love?

What are you passionate about?  Are you doing it?  Be a duck.



* If you enjoy my work and wish to see more of it please visit me at elidigital.  All images are for sale.  Prices will vary on the sizes that you want or need and whether they are matted.  My 6x9 images start at $75 and are printed on 8.5x11 archival paper stock.  I can also print 13x19 on 17x22 paper.  If you really desire a larger print, I can also print up 20x30.  Some of you may prefer to have these prints as cards.  I make a very handsome set of limited edition cards (eight to a gift box) with matching envelopes for $35 plus shipping.  Feel free to show your friends too.  Hopefully, by early next month, I will have a professional site with an online store.  In the mean time, feel free to contact me.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Symmetry

Symmetry and Light

Things do have a way of repeating themselves in life.  You can plan things out carefully in your life but there are many things that can happen outside of your plan and out of your control.  Having a plan is a great thing but I think being flexible is the best plan you can have.

Before I remarried, I remember how I wanted to be stable in my job before I took on the responsibilities of my new prefab family of two children.  I felt that I needed to be in my job for at least a year.  Two weeks before we all married,  our sales management positions evaporated and we were demoted back to the sales force.  Six weeks later I was out of work.  My plan was shattered.

Like a shunned lover, I decided that no one would hurt me again.  I shied away from the allure of the job I had and changed industries.  Again I made my plans and my spreadsheets confident that nothing would happen again.  The first Gulf War came and I lost my job and the spreadsheets again were shattered.  Six months later I was back in the business that I had shunned and continued to do that.  For nearly a decade I suffered the changes of a changing industry.

Again I tried to control my life and left the industry to pursue a more stable career this time purchasing and moving scrap south of the border.  The adventure was enormous.  For nine years, it proved to be a stable job and provided me with the income and security I wanted.  I made my plans again and again they were shattered.

Spreadsheets are fine but be flexible.  Your plans will change.  There's a symmetry in life, a line that you should not cross.  It's ok to dream, and you should, but learn to be flexible.  Things never quite happen the way you intended.   Perhaps the best plan is to be flexible.


* If you enjoy my work and wish to see more of it please visit me at elidigital.  All images are for sale.  Prices will vary on the sizes that you want or need and whether they are matted.  My 6x9 images start at $75 and are printed on 8.5x11 archival paper stock.  I can also print 13x19 on 17x22 paper.  If you really desire a larger print, I can also print up 20x30.  Some of you may prefer to have these prints as cards.  I make a very handsome set of limited edition cards (eight to a gift box) with matching envelopes for $35 plus shipping.  Feel free to show your friends too.  Hopefully, by early next month, I will have a professional site with an online store.  In the mean time, feel free to contact me.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Mangos and Melons, Windows and Bricks


Window and Bricks



We spent a very relaxing weekend with family and friends.  We had to slow down the tempo; there simply is too much going around us right now.  Both Kim and I really just needed time to forget and just enjoy the life we have.  Life after my corporate job has been a roller coaster ride.

Truthfully, I don't feel like I don't have a job.  What I feel is that I don't have steady income.  My job for the past five months has been to reconnect with all of you.  Some of you are new found friends, some of you are long lost friends, and others are my local friends.  I stay in touch with all of you:  over 100 cities in the US, Central America, Europe, Russia, Asia, and Australia.  

At first, I thought that I would simply write a blog about my images.  That idea didn't last very long.  Instead I found myself writing about what I have experienced as I've taken images.  Other times, I've reflected on the journey itself.  Yet other times, I've reflected on meaning and the purpose of life itself.

Most of you, like me, are on a journey.  You don't know where the journey will lead, but you definitely sense that the trip will have an end.  You feel the urgency to enjoy all of the journey regardless of the disappointments.  The journey will be finite but the memories acquired will live on.  

We were meant to be social.  You and I were meant to connect.  We go against our nature, our social being, when we don't enjoy each other.  Today, I simply want to say thank you.  I am grateful for your encouragement both about my images and my words.  Truthfully, without your encouragement there would be no blog.   I feel obligated to make each word and image meaningful. 

This blog provides me with no income stream but it truly has made me a wealthier human being.  You see, I have friends and your lives are priceless.  To that extent, I am a wealthy man and you have played a role in enriching my life.

Yes, I am a thinker.  Yes, I am an artist, but I am also a father, a husband, a son, and a brother.  I choose to work and when I can I incorporate all of my skills and education to the tasks in front of me.  I remain honest with myself and choose my company wisely.  It's not a waste of time  to be with you.

If you enjoy my work and wish to see more of it please visit me at elidigital.  All images are for sale.  Prices will vary on the sizes that you want or need and whether they are matted.  My 6x9 images start at $75 and are printed on 8.5x11 archival paper stock.  I can also print 13x19 on 17x22 paper.  If you really desire a larger print, I can also print up 20x30.  Some of you may prefer to have these prints as cards.  I make a very handsome set of limited edition cards (eight to a gift box) with matching envelopes for $35 plus shipping.  Feel free to show your friends too.  Hopefully, by early next month, I will have a professional site with an online store.  In the mean time, feel free to contact me.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A River Runs Through It

A Passage Through Zion

The mountain cliffs obstruct my view.  They tower in front of me as insurmountable obstacles; just like the many we face in life.  

For each obstacle we face, there are different  choices.  Some choices are obvious but others require thought and vision.  We can climb over the obstacles or find other ways to get to the other side.  The river runs swiftly through the canyon.  The answers lie around the bend.  The river will take me swiftly on my journey to the other side of the cliffs.  My fear of heights abates.

We deal with life obstacles.  They are not always pleasant.  Each obstacle provides a lesson.  Each has its own solution set.  As I proceed on my journey, I think about how swiftly the current will take me through the canyon.  I choose to let the currents take me on a different and unfamiliar venue;  through the canyon and on to the other side.  For now, I will not have to climb, there are other answers.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Take Two Tablets


Not Quite Heaven only Zion

Sometimes the well runs a little dry.  Today is one of those days.  I was wondering though how differently things would have been if Moses had been afraid of heights!!!  The world would be void of direction without Commandments.

I have to admit that I am not much on mountains.  Most of my time has been spent in valleys looking up; the mountains have always been nearby.  Lately, I feel uneasy about just staring at the mountains.  I would like to go up the mountains and see the views from above.   Somehow, folks like me have to overcome their fear of heights.

The only way we can get to other side is to figure out how to scale the mountains.  The journey is about finding paths through both valleys and mountains.  We learn to do both.  To enjoy life we  have to overcome the anxiety of heights.  The view I hear is awesome.  Perhaps Moses had the same fear.  God must have told him:  "Take two tablets and I will see you in the morning."

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Atontonilco: A Place of Refuge



Sojourners need refuge.  Places to lay down their burdens and rest.  The church of Atontonilco in Atontonilco, Mexico is one such place.  It has offered refuge for many pilgrims from all over Mexico.  The nearby hot springs also offered its healing powers.  Both soul and body found comfort in Atontonilco.

Today the frescoes of the church have been restored.  The shrine of Atontonilco acts as a modern day reminder that we all need rest.  We need places to forget about our cares.  Places to reconnect with our spirit.  Places that offer us both silence and direction.

We stopped for a few minutes at the church.  We looked at the children practicing for their first communion.  We sat down and listened.  There was something special going on at Atontonilco.  I think it was the life that we frequently forget to have.  We are busy too busy getting to the next place and meeting our next goal.  In the mean time, Atontonilco awaits the weary peregrino (pilgrim).


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Be Careful About What You Write


(Click Above)

...Scarface, Tony Montana (Al Pacino)

Most of my friends truly mean well.  Some even give me unsolicited advice.  I truly appreciate it.  It's important to me that they share their opinions with me.  Communication is the essence of life.  We are social creatures.  However some of us are also fearful creatures.  We get hung up on what others think or say about us.

A few of my friends have admonished me to tone down my blogs.  Some think that I might be revealing too much of myself and "fear" that I might be misunderstood.  Their points are well taken given that employers current and future routinely check up on their employees.  Some feel that it's their "right" to surf the internet to do "research" on you.  Isn't it flattering that these corporate vigilantes would want to research how their employees think and feel and who they are friends with on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twiter?  To those I say, shoot me an email and I will gladly respond in a private email.

We celebrate the freedom we have in this country to express ourselves and our ideas.  We celebrate that in this country, we choose to protect freedom of speech in our "Bill of Rights".  We believe that it is one of our inalienable rights.  Our judicial system supports and defends that right.  The day that it doesn't, we will all be in trouble.  The irony of people thinking that they should monitor your thoughts;  that you should conform to them sounds like a breach of my "first amendment" rights.

The fact is that most of us suppress what we feel and think.  We go through a lifetime of conformity.  Please tell me what that brings you?  Does that make you a happier person?  Does it preserve your job to agree with an idea that will ultimately cause your company's financial demise or harm the environment?  Does that make you a team player?  Is your conscience clear because you did not speak out?

Ignorance is not bliss, it is just ignorance.  Truth does not wrap itself in pretty packages.  It is not always an "agreeable" point, most of the times it's arguable.  Knowledge comes with responsibility.  Harboring it and hoarding it for the right moment inflicts harm.  One of the ugliest institutions this country harbored, slavery, existed because of the economic and political beliefs of a few and the silence of many.  The Vietnam War which split my generation easily falls in this same category.  (I pray that history will not say the same about the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.)

I choose not to be silenced, cajoled, or intimidated by fear.  Fear is nothing more than ignorance.  I choose not to be ignorant.  I ask questions because I want to be armed with knowledge.  Like you, I am looking for purpose and meaning in my life.  This quest drives my survival.  What I do for a living is only one dimension of me.  Who I am has more to do with what I create and my interaction with you.  Voices are meant to be heard and images seen.  However, I will concede this:  God gave us two ears and two eyes but only only one mouth by design.  Listen and see twice as much before you speak.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Different




If being "different" is what is wrong
I'd rather not be right.
...Vincen Tabatha (poet)

As I was sorting out my images today, I found several images on meters.  Most of the meters were electric while some may have been gas and water meters.  All of them were taken in Mexico.  I suppose my fascination with them simply was that each was unique.  Each had different iron work but they all served a similar purpose.  The homeowner or perhaps even the artisan chose to make his/her statement by distinguishing them.

It came to me that I should write today about different.  When I was growing up in a small New England mill town, different wasn't that acceptable.  No one really suspected that I was Puerto Rican most thought that either I was Spanish and I definitely could pass for Italian.  I certainly didn't "look" Puerto Rican or "sound" like it.  It wasn't yet cool to be Puerto Rican, their was no J-lo, and salsa was neither a sauce nor main stream yet.

Different wasn't cool in my home town.  You either were Irish or Italian, ideally both.  If you were Polish, you were from the next town over.  We conformed to keep the peace.  Not surprisingly, a good number of us left after high school, never to return again.  We were different.  We had different dreams, ambitions, and thoughts.

Years later, I look back at different.  What a wonderful thing it is.  Different people, skin color, religion, thoughts, talents, music, and art.  I think about the humiliation that one teacher put me through in fourth grade when she said "you just like to be different."  Now I smile.  Yes, I like being different because people like me season life.   To that extent I thrive on being different and creative.  My thoughts and my art make me different.  My ethnic heritage adds to it.

This Fourth of July holiday, I think we should commemorate and honor those who served to protect our freedoms so that all of us could be free to be different without ridicule.  This photo looks different doesn't it?  An inverted flag of sorts, this could be my banner.  Welcome to state of being different.  Se habla "different" here.




Sunday, July 4, 2010

I Brake For Details


Puerta:  Casa Lajas

I don't know if it was my mother's garment industry background or if it's just my OCD nature, but since I was a child, I've always noticed the details.  This fascination serves me well as I spend time behind the view finder.  The whole simply is not as interesting to me as the details that make up the whole.

There's so much to notice in the details.  So much is obscured by looking at the whole.  The beauty is in the interrelationship between the detail and how it composes the whole.  The details are the links that make the picture complete.  There's no devil in the details. 

The details provide us not only with colors, but also with textures and contrasts that make the image appealing.  As we observe the details, we notice what makes that image truly unique.  We begin to comprehend why we are/were drawn to it.  The details are the soul of the image.  If we learn to manipulate the details, we can change the emotion of the image.  Details provide the depth or the added dimensions required to feel the image.

It's funny while I might not remember names, I certainly can recall the details about objects and people.  I will recall facial characteristics, birthmarks, quirks, and shoes.  More importantly, I notice how they are and observe how they think.      An image begins to form in my head.  Then again, I am a photographer, I am supposed to notice the details.

You will be surprised what you will notice if you only take the time to observe.  Add another dimension to your life.  Pay attention to what is happening all around you.  Open up your eyes and you will be surprised at what your soul will find and embrace.  A change of attitude and perspective will definitely follow.