Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Eye Sharpens

In my ongoing tradition of self-obsession, I'm soon launching a website, ClizBiz, that will showcase evidence of worth in my life thus far. Originally, its intent was for prospective employers to see the reaches of my talents but it may have dual usage - also serving as a handy reference tool for whomever is penning my obituary.

In preparing the photography section, I have been going through all the photos I have ever taken in my life. To my great distress, I now realize that what few skills I have in this department are quite recent. The year I took off and explored 13 countries in both hemispheres? Yeah, not so into it. The years I covered the music industry in Hollywood? Couldn't care less. It seems only my newest adventures have earned proper exposure.

Last night, while flipping through 57 rolls of film taken during the year abroad in Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Hawaii, I came up with a whopping four prints that just may qualify as barely decent. I can detect the rare flashes of interest in composition or a scrap of thought given to lighting but most are just a blur, literally. Omigod, it hurts to look at them. Thankfully, the two pygmy elephants that charged me on my 29th birthday came in loud and clear - as they did in the flesh . . .

Makes me wonder - did my standards elevate or did my eye merely sharpen? Did I just not posess the patience it took to not just look but really see? The beginnings of this lesson came one day while scuba diving along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. The closer I got to the seemingly quiet reef, the more I could see it was bustling with activity! It looked like some sea-life version of Times Square on New Year's Even and I almost missed it.

I do know that after several months, I put down the camera; instinct told me I was shooting out of habit, not of any artistic joy. One tragic day brought me a step further as I watched my beloved Canon EOS Rebel plop into the San Francisco Bay. Sure, it hurt like hell but my new city demanded an offering, so this was my hunk of flesh.

When I finally returned to photography several years later, I had new sight and fresh patience. Magic began to seep in to the frames now and again, almost always on the very last frame. I guess the older we get, the sharper the vision until one day we can see so clearly . . . we eventually go blind.

1 comment:

lindy said...

aghh!- first i must say that yours is one of the most valuable lives i've ever witnessed and i don't think there's any need to write a blog to evidence it!
As for your photographic skills i beg to differ- i've seen your photos over the years and you started off with raw undeveloped talent and it wasn't until recently that you realized it was a talent that needed to be conciously developed. Once you began to learn about lighting and composition your eye grows exponentially more talented until, as you say- your vision grows to maximum clarity and then in your blindness- without the distraction of new input- you have the time to sort it all out. OF course by the time you're old and blind they will have invented drive through eyeball replacement shops so it won't matter.