Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Fork in the Road - Repost

Praying

This was originally posted nearly one year ago, on Saturday, April 25, 2009. I am re-posting it today for two reasons:

  1. It is still on my mind nearly a year later.
  2. I've become infatuated with the simple act of holding hands and the powerful connection it creates.

When I originally posted this, I was considering throwing in the towel at 100 posts...ready for another adventure. Now I've posted more than 260 times and I am so glad that I have stuck it out. I've met some amazing people between #100 and #260.

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As I approach my 100th blog post (this is #98), I find myself at a crossroads. I would have never dreamed back in October that I would have posted nearly 100 times in six short months. Who knew? I sure didn't. I'd been thinking about it for months, but it took my good friend, Ron, to give me a shove. That's what friends are for sometimes. This photo journal idea has been a fun adventure. I've met many people through blog "comments" that I now consider friends.

My original motivation to blog was to keep me thinking, doing, & creating. If there is one thing I've been good at over the years, it has been giving myself assignments to keep the momentum going. I've always felt that is important for me. As a commercial photographer, I'm usually shooting stuff my clients want and that can be unfulfilling.

I've discovered during this journey that some of the things I shoot for myself end up being very personal and not necessarily for public consumption. Therefore, many of the things I shoot never make it to the blog...yet they tend to be the shots that are the most meaningful to me. I'm making an exception with the photo above. I'm not sure why. I guess I just feel like it today. I'm posting it before I change my mind.

I had to fight back tears after I captured this early today. I knew this fellow was in "desperation mode". I could see it clearly written on his face. He needed help...and he needed it right now. He sat down to pray with a clergyman. He had tears in his eyes. They joined hands. I chose not to shoot their faces. It wasn't necessary and they needed their privacy and anonymity. The simplicity of their hands tells enough of the story. From a distance, I clicked one frame and moved away...and I tried to choke down the lump in my throat.

There is an age-old question that photojournalists have to rationalize: Is their work somehow benefited by the despair of others? The flip side of that question is: Can society be benefited by exposing the human condition to the light of day? I've never really considered myself a photojournalist -- at least not a good one. And if I put myself in the role of a photojournalist at times, I struggle mightily with those two questions.

Maybe what I saw today put me in a reflective mood. One hundred posts seems like a good time to examine, adjust, re-jigger, or maybe just look back. I'm not sure where I go from here. Maybe it's time for a new and different self-assignment...maybe not. Time will tell. In any case, thanks to *you* for coming along for the ride.

I appreciate it more than you know.

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9 comments:

Hindsfeet said...

I'm sitting here having to make myself breathe, D....After having caught my breath at seeing your title....then again, seeing this deeply meaningful image...deeply meaningful.........

It would seem that there *is* a new direction to go, a higher road to travel now, though it's unclear at the moment, as you say, it's the discipline and peace of just taking it day by day...letting the manna of guidance come, trusting that it will come.....

....it will always come.....

...and letting it lead us through this wilderness of life to the Promised land......letting it lead others through us to the Promised land.......

New Direction, New Dimension, New Momentum....

New Life.....

You will be His eyes that many will see through...

Mrs. Peoples said...

I couldnt take my eyes off this photo. Beautiful. It touches my heart.

Ron said...

I am very thaqnkful that youv'e decided to repost this, Dan. I was sitting here in my hotel room telling myself that I should be posting on my own blog, but just couldn't find the motivation to do so after a long day in the field. But after reading your post, you've inspired me to write--which goes to show that sometimes, favors are returned when you least expect it. Now, I WANT to write.

And as for the notion of being a photojournalist--believe me when I tell you: you are beyond that of a photojournalist. Photojournalists sometimes forget about the "heart" of the picture and focus solely on the story--merely forgetting the reason why an image cannot stand on its own without finding that human connection. You're able to look beyond the story and see things that a photojournalist cannot see. Why? Simply because you're not doing it to meet a deadline or just to tell a story--because you're taking pictures for yourself, to meet your own needs as a photographer. And ultimately, you let your pictures mold you as a person...not the other way around. That is an art form few have, my friend.

Dan said...

Ron, I cannot even begin to tell you where my work would be right now, had you not pushed me away from the shore..... This blog has been a major blessing for me. I have met people on this journey that have changed my life in so many positive ways.

Thanks for being there for me, man....whether in the blogosphere or across the hall. I sure am glad you're around.

Peace, bro.

Shutterbug said...

Please keep the blog going, Dan. I try to check in often and your photos are very inspirational. I don't even like calling them "photos." I like the word "memories" much better.

I also believe that the "human touch" can do wonders. It truly is healing in many ways. I encourange lots of hugs in my home and usually hug when I greet friends. It might be a WV thing? LOL!

Thanks again for keeping up with the blog. Now go have a Diet Coke and relax!!!!!

Dan said...

Haha! Carol, I think I'm gonna have 2 Diet Cokes now that ya mention it. The first one is merely an hors d'oeuvre...

Dan said...

Mrs. Peoples,

Thank you. Your comment touches MY heart.

Dan

canadasue said...

Photo seems to tell much about "who you are..."

May the beauty of hands continue to hold your imagination... may the stories they tell heal many.

Dan said...

You're very kind, Canadasue. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment.