The best camera is the one you have in your hand.
I keep revisiting these themes and how my photography, my voice and my art hold meaning. Am I communicating via my art in the most effective way? Right now, as Clint and I build our venture and vision here for all to see, I revel in positive feedback as a guide to my constant question of “Am I doing this right?!?!”. Positive feedback…”that is pretty”… “I like that”…
But what if my art work is not pretty? What if the work I am presenting is hard to digest?
I’ve been hesitant to show my work here. Photos of butchers in third world countries, photos of places we know as ‘militant strong holds’, places we’ve made one dimensional for fear of being accused of ‘not supporting the troops’. Photos of people dressed differently- people who have lives continuing in a ballet of interactions and poetry I will never know because I’ve intersected their journey for seconds, some times less than seconds. But for those few seconds, we’re doing human things like grocery shopping or getting ice cream or waving hello. Gassing up motorcycles, buying treats at the corner store. Human things.
I need to take these photos and show them to remind you and me that we are both big and small. That although I am here and you are there, we are people who do people things…and I’m capturing this with the camera I have in my hand. Unobtrusively and disastrously with a smart phone camera. Does it make me less of a photographer? I am not sure. But the situation changes when photos are not taken from the hip. I don’t want to take portraits for you. I want to show you human things.
Clint and I spend a lot of time talking about our experiences as veterans and federal employees. Usually after dinner as we enjoy a cuppa and catch up on the evening news. We talk about deployments and work ups and training and 18 hour work days and sleepless nights and unbelievable experiences. We talk of friends lost in battle and friends lost because of political discourse. We talk about how our journey has affected our world view and built our separate but parallel narratives. It’s part of who we are. I want to show you more than something you think is pretty or that you like. I want to show you humans.
As I continue making art, my fear is I will be considered a veteran artists instead of an artist who served her country. I worry I will be shoved into a “thank you for your service” and “art therapy” category because of the content or locale where the photo was captured. Then I reconsidered and thought, you can shove me into any category you’d like. Just please look at the photos and see humans, doing human things.