Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Long Dark Road of Depression

Depression is a hard thing. As I look at the facebook feeds and talk to people I love I see the effects of depression and anxiety. I see brave souls just trying to make it through the day. I see one trying so very hard to get off the meds slowly step by step and inch by inch.

It is a mountain sometimes and other times it feels like a dark road with no end.

I am not sure that depression has an end. But there is light and we do not have to be alone on the journey.

Telling the depressed to cheer up is not the answer. You hold them in the darkness until the darkness keep holding them and do not let them go because it will get dark again.

They are not weak. They are not messed up. They are not failures. They are lovely and the simple act of getting out of bed and facing the road is an act of courage.

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Shots We Miss are the Shots We Don't Take

The day after the election I needed a break from all the vitriol on social media. I recently came across some old pictures that my dad took. He had his pictures appear in Stars and Stripes, The Chicago Tribune, Playboy, Marshall Fields, Carson Pirie Scott, various galleries in the cities of Chicago and Dallas and other places in his career. 

I wondered what treasures awaited. I knew his work. He trained me. I have studied his albums. I know his style and sometimes I emulate it. These were different. They were of my mother from back when they were dating. She was breathtaking and he was in love. It showed. It came through. His usual sense of composition and lighting took way to something else. The lens was an extension of his soul. 

I knew it. I felt it. It was raw and honest and it was different from anything else he ever took. I only remember the fighting and the end. Not this side of him. 

He had a whole albums worth of these. One shoot. Film. Film cost money. He had to have used ten rolls. He developed his own negatives, prints and slides. That was time. 

I realized that even in this age of digital I had never invested that time and effort into one subject and never with that level of raw and real emotion. 

Had I never loved?

No. I had. And something hit me when I saw them. 

There was a woman I had dated briefly and we spent the day north of the city. One of the spots we went to was Glencoe, Il. I had brought my camera. I was grossly out of practice and I was shooting in manual and the Pentax was in need of a good cleaning. 

During the day I had stopped being self absorbed. I was immersed and present. I was not distracted. I listened as opposed to waited for my turn to speak. Every moment was wonder and it was the beginning of love. Those are the moments that we do not realize when they are happening, but we know them later. 

I had taken some pictures that had the same level of rawness that I recognize. Sure the composition and use of natural lighting was not perfect. Currently, I am shooting better than I ever have and it is not because of the upgrade in equipment, it is because I am organic again and not overthinking. 

These were raw and passionate and true. These were real and honest and the camera was forgotten because it was a part of my soul. 

I do guilt very well. In that brief relationship I was usually self absorbed and had one foot out the door. Most of the time my brain was somewhere else and I was constantly sad and a little lost. I was never present and I was living in a past full of ghosts that were long gone but haunted me because I allowed them to. It was rather like driving down the road of life looking in the rear view mirror.

But not this day. This day I was present. This moment I was there and I was fascinated and arrested and fully immersed. 

My father once told me when we were shooting together in abandoned oil fields in West Texas , "Son, the shots we miss are the shots we don't take. There will be moments that you will need to forget the f-stop and the shutter speed and the composition. You will have to say to hell with the rule of thirds and just let your heart and the camera become one. When that happens, just fire the release with every beat of your heart. Let your breath be taken away by something or someone and what you do will be breathtaking."

There is a time for thought. There is a time to reflect and think. There is also a time to be immersed in the moment. 

I have not allowed that in the past. I have two choices. I can lament or I can learn. I have chosen to learn. That is all any of us can do. Learn, grow, and let the heart have it's say.

Not everyone is a photographer. Not everyone has a romantic outing with someone. We all have beautiful moments in life and we will have more. In those moments, stay in them , live in them. Make the most of them so you have nothing to regret or ponder, just a treasured memory. If you miss something, do not beat yourself up over it. Those are shots you missed because you did not take them. You do not get to have those moments given back to you. You just have new moments in life to seize.

Go seize some beauty, take the shot, and let every beat of your heart guide the release. 


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Wonder of Woman

Wonder of Woman

This last year has given us a lot of Wonder Woman. She has appeared on the screen again in Batman Vs Superman, has her own movie coming up, and recently has been making the rounds as a little girl who's father spent $1500 in props to recreate the new incarnation of Wonder Woman to empower his daughter. I have also been seeing some little boys and gender fluid children embracing Wonder Woman this year for Halloween.

I will be honest, I did not initially understand her draw until I did some research. Wonder Woman was created by a psychologist and his wife. They created her inspired by feminist figures of the day, especially the birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger.

So here we were, in 1941, the world would be introduced to a strong woman who was a princess, a leader, strong in battle and not a shrinking violet who needs rescuing from a man. Is she beautiful? Yes. Of course she was. She was based off of a woman who lived with the psychologist and his wife in what was likely a polyamorous relationship.

A demigoddess, a leader, a princess, independent and strong.

Sounds like every woman I know and I love. Wonder Woman celebrates the Wonder of Woman.

Welcome to Moonlight From Ashes Media

Moonlight From Ashes Media is the home of PhotoJournalist, Columnist, and Artist Pat Green. Below you will see sample work of Pat'...