One month removed from what I’d known.
"I suggest to artists that you take every opportunity of being alone, that you give up having pets and unnecessary companions. You will find the fear that we have been taught is not just one fear but many different fears. When you discover what they are they will be overcome. Most people have never been alone enough to feel these fears. But even without the experience of them they dread them. I suggest that people who like to be alone, who walk alone will perhaps be serious workers in the art field.” – Agnes Martin
Scrolling through social media today, I was taken aback by the mentioned Agnes Martin quote. It struck me that during two periods of my life thus far I was looking to achieve this. One spell, for 16 months, and another for a year, I spent the majority of time alone. I socialized with friends but carried on in daily activities without a lover. Attempting a new approach to life as the first 16 months began, I was led to the discovery of new, foreign ideas and avenues that I hadn’t yet encountered. My photography began to grow during this time, as it had become the only outlet for my energy. I began to trek into the wood alone, crawl into the hidden caves and leave behind the world I was familiar and comfortable with in order to break the boundaries I had set for myself. I focused, wanting the challenge of overcoming, what feelings were brought on by my fears – loneliness, the fear of my fathers sickness, relationships that had slipped away, self doubt. Day trips became overnight trips; overnight trips became week-long trips as I sat alone behind the wheel on the back roads of the American West thinking and self-analyzing before eventually returning home to an empty house. The freedom afforded to me by having no ties to anyone allowed for such a journey, both physically and mentally.
I sit here writing having begun another spell of time spent alone. My fears are minimal today as the previous stints have allowed me the mental preparation in order to fully make the most of this time. I ultimately don’t wish to continue the lonely traveler lifestyle, but being aware while in the midst of it again I search for more discoveries with the time spent alone in my explorations. One must make the most of what is afforded to you.
We live in a world of celebrity at the moment. For each like, each new follower, we gain validation for a world in which we’ve created online. We live to impress others it seems, not to live for ourselves. How often do we view a feed that guides us through a seemingly perfect life? Too many times. It feels, in the midst of today’s photography, that everyone is a traveler sitting in exotic, foreign locations day after day. Peace signs, wavy signs, forests, beaches, mountains, sunsets, smile after smile, perfect selfie after selfie, etc. White walls, flowers, abstracted images, floral prints, etc. Are these the true lives that people live, or is this the glossy version that we wish it to be?
For the longest time I’ve held true to my beliefs with photography. Those beliefs were formed on the ideas of the auteur filmmakers - wanting complete control over what I would eventually call art. With that, I also attempt a transparent approach to the medium. I can’t say my life is perfect and I don’t wish to display it in that sense. I really dislike lying. Photography already questions truth and I don’t want to further complicate myself or my beliefs by not holding onto some sense of that truth. Self doubt, loneliness, confusion, failed relationships, etc. This isn’t the glossy version of me, it’s just the way it is good and bad.
Does no one lose lovers, do people not stress, are people not fighting sadness, or is that just me? Somehow I lack the fear to put these feelings out there. But I do so for myself. My online presence, my work, isn’t put forth to impress anyone, never feeling the need for validation. It’s there for me, a testament to who I am as a person, almost acting as a form of self-induced therapy. But that being said, one day I would like to find others online displaying similar ideas of truth as to what I believe. I’d like to see people who aren’t lying to themselves. I’m waiting for the gloss to be removed from the image.