Hollywood…

Modern society & culture nowadays is oversaturated by mostly superficial things that it’s not really any better than high fructose corn syrup. I say this because, looking at what’s out there, it’s mostly completely superficial & focused on the idea of the individual & self-improvement, or self-actualization. Initially, that’s not entirely wrong, but when it becomes the center of all that we are, then it’s a big problem because we put ourselves at the center instead of a higher purpose; the one that was given to us by the Creator that’s about not glorifying ourselves, or creation, but the fact that He’s put us here to glorify something greater, Himself, because we’re not the ones that are perfect here due to the reality that we messed it up on account of our own free will. I’m far from perfect, so I’m going to stop myself before I go too much deeper and getting myself all mucked up…And in trouble.

What’s this all got to do with Hollywood or society in general? Look at the predominant message that it produces and what it centers on…the self. When have we ever stopped to smell the roses or anything other than ourselves? It’s been awhile, to be honest, at least for myself. Sometimes, all it takes is one good day to get out there and do something better than just sit in front of the TV, or just rant online about the depressing state of the media. I’ve been listening to the John Rich song, Shuttin’ Detroit Down, and it got to me, not just because of how hard the 2008 crisis hit the average American, but how modern society has created this illusion of a sugar-coated life when reality’s something different…They’re selling make believe and we don’t buy that here. Those lyrics ring so true in that we’ve got to really look at reality, see that we’ve got to see what’s going on around us, and not buy the sugar-coated version.

When we’ve got bombings after concerts, gang violence in our cities, and people just struggling to figure out what on earth’s happening, it makes you wonder (it makes me wonder) at just how far this whole thing has gotten where we buy the sugar-coated reality that we’re being told is good for us. I mean, wake up (myself included), it’s not about us; it takes people like those that helped guide people caught up in the concert bombing in Manchester to safety at a nearby hotel & notify family members to make a difference. I’m still working on this, making a difference thing that is, and it’s going to take a while, but I’m going to go out on the limb and start ignoring the sugar-coating, see the humor in life, and try to reach out & inspire.

Far from…

Sometimes, we go with the flow because it’s simple & easier that way and then, one day, something gets to us and we wonder why we’re going that way (I’m just as guilty of this as much as the next person); sometimes it’s a person that makes us rethink where we’re going and how we’re getting there. Now that Mother’s Day is come & gone here in North America, I’ve come to realize just how much we’re influenced by those that came before us; be it parents, grandparents, ancestors or others. We all have someone that’s influenced us in ways we don’t quite realize until the day comes that something makes us think about him, or her.

For me, it’s been something to realize just how much parents & others influence just what makes me who I am; we’re creatures of influence in ways that sometimes we don’t realize too well. There’s this song, New Frontier, by Canadian country singer Aaron Pritchett, about a couple going on to new frontiers and, in a way, it’s more than that for all of us; we’re constantly seeing the frontier in front of us change, and not always for the better. Personally, I think it’s about time we get far from where modern culture is going and forge our own new frontier (for lack of a better term) by caring for others, doing something that matters to someone, and holding fast to the faith that made us who we are today, making sure it’s real for us. We can do just that in our lives with what we do for work, with others, or even in our hobbies (i.e. photography, hiking, walking, etc.); just do something that might mean something to, or inspire, others.

Looking back at what I’ve done, in my life, I come to think that I’ve missed the mark quite a few times and I’m thinking that I might just be finally getting the point. Sometimes it takes a while to get the point and, although it seems a bit painful, we’ve got a bit more time done & we’ve learnt quite a bit in the process; it’s a learning process. For me, personally, it’s about learning to use the gifts & talents that the Creator has endowed me with and learning not to ignore them. So, let’s get far from where society dictates we should go (thinking chiefly about ourselves) and really set out to inspire others!

Preconceptions, culture & vision…

…Three things that go together no matter how hard we try to separate them. We all have our own preconceptions of how things should be & how they should look, but the fun is in how we go about trying to one-up ourselves when it comes to just that in photography. In Western culture, we read something from left to right, but in Eastern culture, it’s right to left; this changes how a photograph is going to be read ever so slightly, but it also shows that culture can significantly influence how we position the subject matter in the shot. With a non-moving subject, using the principle of thirds, the subject would better placed in the left third for one culture, but the right third for another…It all depends on how we read a photograph.

Coming from a Western culture, I’ve always read left to right, but the interesting thing is, I’ve come to see things in a different light once experimenting with showing things from right to left in a shot. What I mean is that, placing the subject in the right third with lines that lead into it from the right edge of the frame, a right to left approach has just as much value as the other way around. This works especially well with a shot in which a subject is looking to the left and gives the impression of wanting to go there. But when tinkering with this kind of photograph…one that’s trying to break the mold…we’ve got to remember not to loose vision in it by going all-out for the sake of going all-out.

Looking at the idea of culture & vision, the key is to not let either one trump the other, but to somehow make the two balance each other. In nature photography, this is a bit simpler, but when it comes to patterns, this can be a bit more difficult, or so I’ve heard. Although the below shot isn’t a perfect example, putting the bird in the lower right third gives more of an open space for the viewer to explore after focusing on the bird itself and creates the effect of getting the viewer to go right to left, bottom to top. The shot is not more eastern-oriented because of it, but it plays with the idea that the culture reads from right to left in its language.

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Resting…