It is what it is. Some people get highly irritated with that statement. Like, what does that even mean? But, alas, it still is what it is. And that, in and of itself, is so self-defining for me. It is how I photograph, it is how I edit my work and even more-so, how I edit my life. And the goal is to simply not edit. Or try not to at least. Because it is what it is. And there is beauty in what is. Exactly as it is. And settling into each moment, the simplicity and perfection of it, is what I strive for in my life and in my work, whatever that work may be at that moment; washing dishes, brushing my daughter's hair, dealing with the heaviness that life brings, or in my profession as a photographer. It is what it is and if you can't see the beauty, or feel the beauty in it, you aren't looking hard enough, or feeling hard enough, or noticing what you're intended to notice.
I think that is absolutely what sets me apart as a human being, and what sets my work apart as a photographer. A comfort in what is. A complete abandon of trying to “create” anything other than emptiness. That is a rarity these days. We are all so full of information, and false connection points, because the feeling of emptiness is something that we feel compelled to run away from. And we don't need to run far.
But my goal is quite different. I am compelled towards emptiness. I strive for it. I literally crave it, and equate it with absolute bliss. Because emptiness is the only way that I can receive what is there to be received. I don't want to pre-think or pre-plan or pre-anything. I truly want to be in the moment, and I want the moment itself to be the driving force. I want it to unfold as it is intended, with the energy of those participating in it, being the creators of it, and me participating as the observer, with the added benefit of having the guidance or intuition enough to know when to hit the shutter.
But the irony is that it takes a particular type of energy to allow that to happen. One must be comfortable being empty in order for others to allow that emptiness to land long enough, that they expand beyond that initial lack of comfort, and allow it turn to magic.
So, despite my efforts to not want to be the driving force, I am in a way. I am steering the moment, but not in any particular direction. It is guidance by way of removing expected guidance. That may sound silly, or may not seem like it's even a thing. Because it is intangible. And intangibles are so often written off as unimportant. But intangibles are what bring me comfort when the tangibles are all too much to bare. And so they are a huge part of what I notice. And that's why there is feeling in my work. That's why even though something isn't particularly spectacular visually, it hits somewhere deep, and pulls you in, and then draws you back again. That's why I don't want anything to look a particular way, or fit a particular mold. That's why no two of my shoots really look the same. There are things that make you inimitably you. And these are the things that make those that you love, love you. And those are the things that I notice. And that is what I strive to capture. But I'm only able, if I'm empty of ideas, and poses and a desired end product.
So, basically, what I bring to the table is... nothing. Ha! But really, emptiness isn't nothing. It takes practice, and focus and discipline. And I think that it is that emptiness that draws people to me. I am receptive. There is space for you. It's almost as though the emptiness pulls at you like a black hole. And though we're so afraid of it because of the unknown, it's where all the magic of life happens. And a part of us knows that. And that part of us is denied so frequently because it's satiation sits on the edge, just beyond discomfort.
And that is my gift. That is why my work feels different. Because I strive to reach that satiation in nothingness, and allow others to do the same. Because it is what it is. And what it is, is beautiful.