Having deep thoughts about the role of chains in life. I worked out I can link where I am now back to where I was five, ten, thirty years ago through a chain of events. It’s much like what Steve Jobs said here about connecting dots;
Then I was thinking about the function of those chains. Is the strength of those links to past events holding me in place like an anchor? Alternatively, is the inherent strength something I use to get to the next link, building a longer and stronger chain in the process?
The fundamental question from all this is, am I pushing on or be pulled by the chain?
I got to the Hokusai show at NGV on a rainy Friday afternoon and the collection of work did not disappoint. Viewing the great wave off Kanagawa, I could understand what Van Gogh meant when he said;
these waves are claws, the boat is caught in them, you can feel it”
The fishermen and their boats are dwarfed by this almost tsunami like force of water bearing down on them. It’s not something you get to appreciate until you see the original up close, as so many re interpretations of this iconic image leave them out.
It also made me think about the two other artisans involved and that relationship. To produce the woodblock prints, Hokusai’s illustrations were stuck to wooden blocks that were then carved into the different colour separations for printing. The final work shows their skills as much as the artists.
In a photographic context, Annie Leibovitz or Albert Watson work with teams who create sets, do costumes, makeup, lighting and post production. That’s important to consider when you try setting your goals to match their output but don’t have access to that team. It’s easy to be disheartened if you get sucked into comparisons.
Don’t view that lack of resources just as a limitation, rather it’s an opportunity to learn those aspects and having a hands on understanding of what those people do will develop your understanding of what is possible. It’s also an opportunity to seek out people in those fields for creative collaboration.
It’s also good to look at the work produced without the cadre of assistants and see that the fundamentals of what makes a good image are still present. No amount of additional people will save you from trying to work on a bad idea and subsequently producing a bad image.
I took myself to the National Gallery of Victoria to see some work shown for the Festival of Photography It showcased the diversity of approaches to this medium but apart from Bill Henson, nothing really made me feel anything, although there were some techniques I would like to explore.
My take away from 2016 is that the future is unpredictable and you can’t plan for it. So I’m not going to… Instead I will try being open to whatever opportunity throws my way.
Accept whatever comes to you woven in the pattern of your destiny, for what could more aptly fit your needs?
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
May 2017 be a year of daring