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.