Saturday, June 29, 2013

Blessed Beyond Measure | The Greater Courage for When Things Go Right

The challenges, disappointments and sorrows in life are often the experiences where faith and humility are formed. Those are the times when we are painfully reminded of not only our need to surrender control to a higher power but also of our need for love of each other.

I've been through a few during my short 48+ years here.

But there's also the need for a courage in faith when things go right. On the surface that seems counterintuitive. Let me explain. Throughout my life I've formed a bad habit of self-sabotage. Self-doubt and guilt. Worry and fear. The "uh-oh, someone's going to come along and rip the carpet out from underneath me" talk, or "I don't deserve this and what I'm doing is making someone else feel bad."

Some have picked-up on that bad habit of mine and at times have made it worse. Loved ones and true friends have helped me get through it. The messages we're bombarded with via news media as well as passive aggressive curiosities expressed through social media haven't exactly helped.

It's just as much of a collapse inward as is fear and sadness is during difficult circumstances. I would even argue that this sort of guilt and talk of unworthiness is in a way an expression of narcissistic tendencies.

Faith is also formed in our times of blessings and that can often require the greater courage. To stand-up and say a loud "thank you" and "yes I am worthy of this gift" and then to persevere through the guilt, ignore the negative talk (from inside and outside) and work hard in prayer and humility to build the blessing outward. To see it for it truly is - an opportunity to make a positive impact and to express through words and images the daily message of hope.

The new home and land I've been guided toward in Ohio is exactly such an opportunity, not only through photography but now built on a foundation of humble faith and gratitude. This is precisely why this coming home is a coming home to a place of peace.

This time I believe I finally got it right by being right with what matters the most. This time - through thankfulness and yes, dare I say "worthiness," I've found and been guided to a place called home.

I intend to stay here for quite a long time - on this land and in my heart.

Thank you.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Power of Three

One of the tools I use for gaining hits, "likes" and reach on social media is creating and posting composites of my photographs, usually grouped by similar theme, location or subject. I've discovered that when done properly, and with a thoughtful sentence or two, "likes" and visibility can increase dramatically. Plus I just enjoy the process of sharing and inspiring.

As with composing a single landscape or nature image I choose to emphasize groupings of three. Three is a powerful number. Look around your everyday environment and you will be surprised just how often it appears, particularly when it comes to architectural design, landscaping and visual art.

Aesthetics aside, for me there is both a spiritual and a restorative essence in three. I do my best to convey that personal meaning in both the images I capture and in the postings I share. I don't come out and say the reason I do it. I just simply do it and I prefer to leave that little bit of mystery for the viewer to discover and speculate as to my reason why.

Art should never be reduced to something that becomes so homogenous that it becomes impossible to discern the work of one photographer from another. The work should always hold true to serving as the honest visual representation of what moves the artist to create in the first place. That takes courage, particularly in the age of instant sharing and the implied social pressure of social media approval.

The power of three resonates deeply with me and I don't try to hide that fact in what I compose with my camera and how I share it online. Composition, arrangement and presentation. Look closely and you will see hints at something so much more than an attractive landscape. There are stories here, stories of heart, soul and spirit.