Showing posts with label thoughts on. Show all posts
Showing posts with label thoughts on. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

thoughts on // friendship

Last night I found myself looking through every single tagged photo of myself on facebook, not because I'm consumed with myself (because as I was forced to remember, my junior high and high school years were not good to me look-wise), but mostly out of a boredom so great, only doing something such as absentmindedly clicking little arrows over pictures would cure. As someone who has had facebook for a long time (since 2007!), many pictures of me have surfaced over the years. As I looked through, I began to notice something, friends coming and going, months without a tagged photo of me, different types of photos appearing, and it really got me thinking about friendships. First of all, I am the type of person who knows a lot of people, but I am very good friends with a select few. I tend to invest deeply in just a handful of people. From being a military kid, I learned fast my relationships had to become deep quickly because I didn't have much time with people. I never lived more than three years in one place until I moved to Oklahoma the second time around. Then I lived there for five years. As one can imagine, I developed deep friendships with a group of people, and then continued that friendship for much of my developmental years (last end of elementary to middle of high school). Because of that, once I moved to Alaska, it was hard for me to make new friends because I was not only tied to people now thousands of miles away, but I had also forgotten how to create a bond between myself and another human. Coupled with that and my introversion and shyness around people I don't know, I've felt basically everything on the friendship scale.

That's a little bit of background on my friend experiences. One thing I have learned through my friendships is this: you have to be willing to invest. That is a given, I hope, but you really have to make a conscious effort. For me, I literally have to think to myself, "I want to be that person's friend, therefore I have to talk with them and hang out with them and potentially feel awkward for a period of time. But I'm willing to do that." For some people, it seems like they just have to blink and everyone in the room is instantly their friend. But sometimes it's hard. Another thing I've learned is that the other person has to be willing to invest. I've had friends who I never fully felt comfortable with, and they weren't willing to compromise for me like I had been for them. If a person is not willing to give the amount of effort that you're giving, then you probably shouldn't be friends with that person. I'll have to warn you though, it will hurt. A lot. A lot a lot. If you're like me, you'll end up crying about this for months and you'll spend entire summers alone wondering why they don't like you and what you could have done differently and what's wrong with you, but trust me, I would much rather go through those feelings than feeling awkward and left out while I'm hanging out with people who should make me feel the opposite.

At the same time though, friendships can't always be skipping through fields of flowers. Like any relationship, they're tough and take a lot of work. You have to keep in contact. My old friends and I used to swear that we would grow old together and be crazy old ladies and be in each other's weddings and be friends forever, but then I didn't keep in contact and they didn't keep in contact, and eventually everything faded away. That is one of the saddest things. I still hurt because I think, "Did they really care about me?" (Of course, that's also me constantly over-analyzing everything.) But sometimes I wonder if they think that of me. I see their updates on facebook, and they are just ghosts of the people I remember, pixels of memories I had from years ago, memories that are a little blurry like a dream. And all I have to hold on to those memories are photos or status updates, but they don't seem real. So I'm begging you, if you have friends that you've lost contact with, please message them, send them an email, text, call, anything. I would give almost anything to be able to create new memories with people who are now confined to my computer screen and the one sided conversation known as the facebook newsfeed. Who knows what could happen? Maybe you guys will end up having wheel chair races at the nursing homes after all!

Now in my life, I'm finally surrounded by a beautiful group of girls, and I'm so excited because I get to live in an apartment with them this fall! College was such a blessing for me. Going into it, I was scared I wouldn't make any friends, because I was still unsure how to create deep relationships quickly and I knew people would try to create their circles within the first few weeks of attending. Living in close quarters with someone helps tremendously (or awfully, depending upon how compatible you are with the other person), because it forces you to get to know each other quickly. If a college environment isn't in your immediate future, I would say being deliberate is the best way to go. Be kind to people. Ask questions. That's one of my tools that I took into college. People love talking about themselves, so if you ask a lot of questions, it gets you out of talking and allows you to learn about the other person. Actually listen to them. In this day and age, too much time is spent thinking of what you're going to say next, ways to not make things awkward, pondering for minutes or hours over texts to decide the best wording. But I try to really stop and listen to what the other person is saying, and if I'm curious about something, I ask. Even if it's a very personal question I ask it anyways, because then a level of trust is established and the friendship can grow from that. And above all else, spend time with someone you can love. I think humans have the capability of loving any human they come in contact with, but there are some people who are more compatible than others. You tend to know soon after a few conversations whether or not a friendship will work. At the same time, let those conversations determine your pursuit, and not things that you've heard or even seen. My friends that I made in college, if I had known them in high school, I would have never been friends with them. Popular, sporty, beautiful, insanely smart and talented people ... I wouldn't have been brave enough to even talk to them because of how different they seem to be. But that's the beautiful thing about humans--despite our differences, we are all pretty similar.

To my old friends, I love you, I miss you, I think about you a lot. I hope one day we can be reunited. To those who decided not to be my friend, I'm trying to forgive you. I hope for nothing but happiness in your life. To my current friends, may our group facebook message never end, and may you all be in my wedding. And may we all have enough money for a friendship reunion every year, because you bring more joy into my life than you will ever know.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

thoughts on photography

I recently read an article about how our phones have changed photography, and it really got me thinking about what I want to be as a photographer and how all of us are affected by this technology.

I learned once in some class a long time ago (or I might have read it in a Time magazine) that technology is growing exponentially. When I was a little kid my parents had a giant video camera that recorded everything on those big tapes that you could stick into VCRs, and now I have a video camera that slips into my back pocket. The same goes with cameras. They used to carve everything on rocks and ride dinosaurs and now film photography is seen as a novelty sort of thing (seriously, when was the last time you bought even a disposable camera, much less tinkered with a film camera?). We live in the digital age, and I am definitely all for it. Our cameras are smaller and better, we get instant gratification, we share, upload, download. Photography is no longer this novelty sort of thing, it's documenting and sharing our experiences (and I loved how the article talked about this).

That's largely why I'm a photographer, to document my life and the lives of those around me, be that through weddings, senior photos, you name it. It's all about documentation. The definition of photography has changed dramatically over the years, I think. Part of me thinks that way too many people call themselves photographers because of how available it is. Now I've seen some fantastic work that was done solely with an iphone in a studio, but it seems like every person with a camera phone calls themselves a photographer (or at least thinks they could do it). In one sense, it's awesome that this art form is so popular. There are a lot of creative minds out there who are brilliant photographers and extremely talented at what they do and I love their passion and creativity and how easily I can look at their work. Had it not been for them and the fact that photography was and is so readily available, I would have never dreamed of myself being a photographer. But in another sense, it leaves me worried (or curious, I suppose would have a better mindset to this) that the availability of the art form has cheapened it. If anyone can snap a picture of a flower or a person and call it art, is it really art? Perhaps, to borrow from Disney, the saying "anyone can cook" really means a great chef can come from anyone. Sure anyone can take photos, but great art is not limited to a select few, and even though the availability of photography does open the doors to anyone messing around with it, it also allows that one special person to discover it and do amazing things.

But with photography being so available today, it does make the market incredibly difficult. I guess it still goes back to "anyone can cook." I'd hate to sound rude or uppity, but not everyone should be a photographer. Even though the definition of photography has changed from being purely art to also documentation, that doesn't mean the art side of it has disappeared completely. You still have to have a little bit of creativity inside of you to truly be great. But I have also read that, like a lot of things in life, it's 90% learned skill and only 10% natural talent (that's not a real scientific statistic, but you get my point). There are so many classes and online articles and tutorials that are available to the public. It's that cookbook for the beginning chef. He just has to follow a set of ingredients to become awesome. It all takes time and learning and patience. But I do think this has caused people to become hasty in giving themselves titles and creating makeshift businesses and charging people for photos that could have been better had they taken the time to learn and grow in the art side of photography rather than jumping into the document and experience side of it.

As for me, I truly believe that anyone can be a photographer. I love photography because I can document my life. I also love it because I can create art with the tools available to me. I love it because it's an art form that is instantly gratifying and I love it because I can share it. I love it because you really don't need fancy, expensive equipment to create. I love it because instagram came from it and opened this new world of sharing and the planting of ideas in people's heads (thoughts like, "Hey, this photo isn't so bad, maybe I should look deeper into this photography thing."). I love it because anyone can pick up a camera or a phone and feel the same way I feel.

If you want to be a photographer for whatever reason (to document, to share, to create), I would say go for it one hundred million percent. Taking the plunge has changed my life completely, and for the better too. All the tools are available. You don't even need a fancy Digital SLR camera (I did my entire first 365 project using only a $75 point and shoot camera, so I know there are no excuses). All you need is a desire, a crazy desire to create, to document, to share your life with others, because I have learned that photography is so much more than just instagram and an iphone, it's this insane community of creative, beautiful people all with a desire to create something amazing.