The questions cycles around with irregular regularity: “If you knew __________________ (the world were ending, this was your last day on the planet… you know, fill in the blank with whatever dire thingie you choose)… would you still photograph?”
Two things always come pop into my mind on that one…
First: you really never know WHAT you’d do until you’re faced with such a dire thingie. Or the opportunity to ONLY what your heart desires most.
Second: Yes. And if I didn’t have my camera with me… I’d take pictures with my eyes and imprint them on my soul. I would take the time to do that; that’s the part of photography I love most, anyway. And I know that THAT’S what I’ll be taking with me out of this whole photography deal.
Rolling In The Deeper Side of Things
“Good God, Karen!” I hear you exclaim. “What sent you off into the deep end of philosophical tangents?”
Well, I pretty much always think about such things. But on top of it, I gotta say – building a website as a brand to contain your true heart and soul fine tunes your focus. It makes you REALLY dig deep and think about what’s most important, what you stand for – and stand behind, it defines you in ways you never expect until you build one. Mine will reflect who I am more completely than ANY website I’ve ever had. And I’ve had them since 1998.
And then lately – that question has been cycling around, as it does. I’ve been seeing it on blogs, in articles, in conversation. In fact, I just read a variation on it again on a good photographer friend James Brandon’s blog.
Dante Said It Best
MOST recently, I was asked to supply my favorite quote for inclusion in an compilation eBook on photography. I have several favorite quotes, for different reasons. But this is the one I’ve been loving on the most lately:
“Beauty awakens the soul to act.”
— Dante Alighieri
(Medieval Italian poet and philosopher Dante was born in 1265. Yes, THAT Dante. The one who wound up writing Dante’s Inferno, as well as The Divine Comedy – which was considered the greatest work of literature ever composed in Italian. He got it just right on that statement.)
There’s something about witnessing Beauty that stirs the soul. Awakens it. Makes it want to be free and sing its soul-song.
Beauty As A Superpower
See, in my heart of hearts – I feel as though I’m doing some small service to soul-dom by focusing on beauty, dwelling there, “bringing it” the best way I know how. I’ve personally experienced the transformational power of it in both myself – and in others – to bring tears, revelations, a new lease on life – in a heartbeat. Now THAT’S a superpower!
Beauty is something that never needs defining. Somehow, in some primal way, we all understand it deeply without anyone explaining it to us. Each of us knows exactly what’s most beautiful to us… and it’s always held in a sacred place.
“It’s just… so… beautiful.” I hear people say those words, like the word “beautiful” is a definition unto itself. No further description can make it any clearer. And they say it reverently… like they just laid eyes on God. Which I think they may have, in some cases. And it changes everything.
So if faced with something dire… or complete freedom… or simply today… I would still photograph, yes. Absolutely. Because here’s something else I know… that which you focus on the most will come to pass. I like to think about what would happen – in an instant – if our souls were to awaken and ACT.
Now, more than ever… I want souls to do that.