Hosta Cuddle

Hosta Cuddle

Hosta Cuddle
Hosta Cuddle

I was running out of inspiration in my photography.  My last “photography trip” was way back in early March 2011, and the next one would not be for a year or more.  No one was buying my photos, and no one was enrolling in my workshops.  I was getting very few “Likes” on my posts.  I was thinking why do this at all.  Who cares about these images anyway?  There are trillions of them on the internet, and why bother?

Yesterday when I was walking up my driveway after a day at the office, I heard the singing of a Cardinal up in the sky somewhere.  I stopped and listened and looked until I saw him, sitting way up on my TV antenna.  Then I smiled and whistled back.  Was he singing for me?

Last Saturday I was at the Chicago Botanic Garden, to shoot some pictures of the flowers and plants there.  Initially, I was walking around in the grip of the mind’s chatter — “Find pretty flowers … in soft light  … with uncluttered backgrounds … and get their names  … and won’t everybody just love it  … and blah blah blah blah blah.”

But then, by walking around, by myself, just being still and letting the plants attract me (letting my heart attract them?), by just walking around and noticing my feelings, my mind’s focus was directed to a group of hostas perched quietly along a stairway under a canvas tent.  Their stillness and apparent contentment with their position, leaf curling against leaf, created in me a feeling of appreciation that these flowing, unspectacularly green ripply plants had accepted their destiny to put on a display —  today — now  — just for me, because everyone else had passed them by.

So what is the purpose of a plant growing or a bird singing or a Harry making a picture?  Is it to win awards, recognition, appreciation from other people? I think not.

I think, when we are still, we are all inspired to do what feels good to us, and I should not forget that for me it feels good to pour some of my life into creating a thing of beauty.  Like the Cardinal singing his song.  Like the hosta leaf growing and cuddling with her sisters.

I will remember to focus my mind on these things, before focusing my camera.

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12 thoughts on “Hosta Cuddle

  1. Thanks for the reminder. We are sometimes pulled in so many directions it’s nice to ride the wave of inspiration. Letting the beauty of nature wash over me usually does the trick. I don’t know why I feel in charge in the first place. When I let nature truly speak to me, I feel it comes out in my images, satiating both my soul and the photography. Truly a win-win in my book. Thanks for your thought, Harry.

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  2. Harry, your note found its way to me at just the right moment, expressing some of the same thoughts that have been nagging me recently…people stand at a show or gallery and wax poetic about one or all of the images I have displayed, then walk way empty-handed. Why bother? Why get up and get out early? Why sit at the computer optimizing an image when you’re bone tired? Then, when you are pulled back out again and come home with a couple images you really like, you get that feeling of satisfaction that you can’t even describe. As much as I like the feelings that follow someone’s glowing comments at a gallery or the satisfaction when a customer walks out the door having purchased an image, it’s the capturing of the image itself that is the driving force here. If we didn’t even try to sell images or lead workshops, we’d still lug our cameras into the field in search of another satisfying image. I try to post a couple images on my blog, http://www.blog.tomdwyerphoto.com, after each shooting experience … my evidence that the shooting experience itself is worth the energy I put into it…at least to me.

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  3. Keeping your mind fresh and active and focusing on the positive instead of the negative is important in every aspect of life. Your words are inspiring Harry! Your photography is wonderful! Beauty lies everywhere we look.

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  4. Harry, I love it! The picture and the thoughts. Beauty does seem to show up whenever we slow down enough to be aware of what is.

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  5. I love your “Hosta Cuddle” image. Very beautiful.

    “I think, when we are still, we are all inspired to do what feels good to us, and I should not forget that for me it feels good to pour some of my life into creating a thing of beauty. Like the Cardinal singing his song. Like the hosta leaf growing and cuddling with her sisters.”

    . . . and, I think, letting some of their life and beauty pour into us as we still and quiet ourselves.

    Loved your comments. Thanks for sharing.

    Bill

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  6. How easy it is to loose our focus, our enjoyment in what we do, Every once in a while we need to stop and re- cal.
    Thanks Harry.

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    1. Thanks Bill. Yes, a re-calibration, kind of like cleaning the dust off our lenses, or putting a freshly charged battery in the camera. Getting quiet and letting life and beauty settle into us.

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