Welcome to BeyondPaisley Photos, a territory in the growing Empire of Groovy.
Several years ago I got a point-and-click camera, a little red Kodak compact that I could slip into my purse, and I started playing with the pretty pictures. It didn’t take me long to figure out that I really liked the pictures, and that with some effort…OK, with a lot of effort…I could start to learn things like lighting and angles and all sorts of picture-takery-type stuff. And I got pretty good. I got a better camera–still a compact, but it was leaps and bounds over the Kodak–and even had a few shows in my town. Sold some stuff. Started to generate some interest.
Then (cue the dramatic music), tragedy struck. While in the process of transferring photos from an old computer, whose hard drive was dead and gone and from which my data needed to be retrieved, to a new one, I dropped the external hard drive that almost all of my photos were on. And the discs in the external memory were shattered, so that data was irretrievable. I know, I had a very expensive company check, and they said they wouldn’t be able to do anything for me. A handful of files had already been duplicated onto the new computer, and my early files were still stored on an older computer yet that had a failing screen but a working memory, so I still had *some* files. Nevertheless, I conservatively estimate that I lost around 10,000 photos. It was all I could do to get out of bed for the next three days.
Ever forward, right?
Eventually, I picked the camera up again and started taking photos. And George and I went places, and I took some photos. And a friend of mine at the local coffee shop called me and asked if I was interested in booking a show, so…why not, right? What the hell, I thought. If the show sucks, maybe the shattered hard drive was a sign, and I should hang up the camera, except for when I felt like playing around.
Folks, if you never listen to another word I say, hear this: That “this is a sign” stuff? Is bullshit. It’s an excuse for us–all of us–to surrender our decision-making ability. The universe isn’t telling us squat; we’re just looking for reasons to justify our own behavior, whether for good or for ill. I could have taken the damaged hard drive as a sign and said no to the show. INSTEAD, I said yes, got back on the horse, and had the most successful show I’ve ever had, and one of the best the shop has seen.
And so, I feel like I have finally put the specter of the lost photos behind me. It was long and hard and formative, but hey, I’m still standing. I’ve realized I really like to take photos. Like, I like-like it. It’s a way to preserve what I see and it asks me to take fresh eyes to the world around me, which isn’t a bad way to spend some time. Finally, I’ve started this blog. And I have a new camera that I am dying to learn about. I may set up a shop on the interwebs and start selling photos, we’ll see. If worse comes to worse, I still have that little red Kodak, and I can click away with that.
Ever forward, indeed.