A Desire To Record

December 05, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

A Desire To Record

A desire to record, create and express must have been built deep into mankind since its creation, tucked away at the end of some gene. Hundreds of millenniums before figures and shapes were first drawn and later smeared on cave walls it must have been there. Sticks used on a canvas of dirt, mud, dust or sand must have been the earliest form of creating rudimentary recordings. However, the cave drawings were very different, they were permanent.

That very first flash of simple expression unknowingly created a permanent record, forever linking past, present and future. Previously, only permanent records came from Nature as it chiseled them into and out of rocks or grew them into trees using the tools of wind, water and time. Now creatures of Nature were creating their own records on rocks or in trees using hands, fingers, feet or their tools. Making symbols only they understood, the likes of which the world had never seen before.

Today that yearning no longer lurks deep within us, no longer frustrated by an inability to be realized. Now, being cultivated, grown and encouraged, it's forever unleashed, to create, display and develop. To convey thoughts through all means possible, sound, drawing, writing, movement and photography. Expressions forever recorded for current and future generations to enjoy, analyze, explore, debate and reference. Mostly though to remember while holding them very dear.

These past life times can be very precious. Though unchangeable, they are easily forgotten. These times are known and understood by us. They are neither frightening nor filled with the uncertainly contained in the oncoming rush of the future. It is this collective past that binds us all, some of which we lived though, while the rest are only stories, drawings, writings and images to us.

With the expression of speech, writing, drawing, music or photography, our past continues while the future is built using these tools. All are complex to master and understand yet simple to perform. Photography, one of the newer innovations of expression, is simply recording light in its many forms, colors and strengths. As with all innovations, photography has continually improved. From the Kodak Brownie though the Polaroid Land SX-70 camera with its self-developing film. Today, in all manner of digital cameras photography resides allowing us, with a simple push of a button or touch of an icon, to instantly create a complex cave painting.

A photo needs not be some kind of masterpiece. Believe me, the vast majority of mine die a quick death in the bit bucket. It needs only to be a record or expression of what the taker wanted. Each photo is taken for a reason. It could be a very personal reason. It could be for money. It could be to help right a wrong. To thank someone, or to simply create art. The point is, behind every photo there is a reason for its creation, and there are an infinite number of reasons. The photo simply needs to be taken.

George Winston is a very gifted and talented musician who performs piano solos. I own a few of his CDs, have a Pandora station for him and do some of my writing while listening to his music. Once I had the great fortune to attend a performance. “December” is one of the albums I own and it is my most listened to one. It captures the frame of mind I develop during the end of year season. This time of year can be a very moody, melancholy and introspective period for me. Captured between the notes and melodies is the season, in all its forms, joy, sadness, peacefulness and hope. The track “Thanksgiving” fittingly starts this album while “Peace” ends this collection of seasonal piano solos. This track offers a promise of a coming, lasting and just peace while wishing all peace be with them.

Peace for me, this time of year, can be elusive, as the full effect of these shorting days is felt. Bits of gloom begin seeping into my soul. At midday, it seems dark and I know cold, snow and another year are coming. A period of reflection and questioning begins. What I did or I didn't do. Hopes realized and the ones that never came to pass. Will the cats still be purring on our laps a year from now? Many years back, just before Thanksgiving, we lost Shadow, our first cat. She was cremated and I had the honor to pick up her ashes the Friday after Thanksgiving. This loss still pains me to this day, but she is forever home. Many may laugh when I write of my cats in this way, but I pay them no mind. A regret I will carry forever is never taking more portraits of Shadow.

After moving back to Saginaw in 1989, the lovely Kath and I started hosting the family Thanksgiving dinner. In the first few years many joined us, upwards to 12 guests. Now in 2013 we might have 4. People have moved on, moved away or passed away. Somewhere in our 30's we start looking back, only then realizing it's too late, our youth is gone and we have no record of it. So we make a vow. Then in our 50's we look back at our 30's and realize we did it again. More time has slipped by, and sadness does grow when thinking about these past times, never to return and not well recorded.

Recordings are simply reference points that once were current times. Childhood TV specials, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and Christmas to seasonal music. We need photos of those periods in our lives.

Photography today is such an easy way to record so release your inner creative child. Let it free, let it run wild or, if so inclined, take it easy and gently photography the world around. Take photos how you wish, as you feel. There really is no right or wrong way, just your way. If snapshots are all you want, then take them until the shutter breaks, then get another camera and repeat. If photography holds more interest then study it, learn it, become it. Do this because it makes you happy. Above all, photograph and record. Memories are meant to be passed along, they only happen once. Time is a one way street with no U turns and only one off ramp.

Doug 


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