Sunday, June 1, 2008

"...Long ago in a land very far away, there was a young man who was fond of travelling the countryside. He would often encounter different people in his travels, and he often sought to distill a bit of wisdom from the people that he met and the experiences that he had.

It so happened that one day, he met a beautiful lady that was enchanting. As he talked with her, he found out that she was a single mother, with a son that was six years old. Her husband had become an alcoholic and their divorce had ensued. The young man had often talked with divorced people, and he had also made a study of grief and loss. He often wondered what it was that enabled people to move past these things. So, as he talked with the lady, he asked her if it still hurt. She replied that it didn't so much, but that what made her angry was what her son's father was doing to her son by not being there for him. Then the lady said something like this, "If he would focus on making his sons life better, and not worry about himself, then he would have what he needed." She went on that day to talk more about this idea, that people need to look outside of themselves and take care of others.

When they parted ways, the young man thought a great deal about what the lady had said. As he wandered the hills and valleys, he wondered who he was more concerned about? Himself, or others? And why was he doing the things that he was doing? For himself? He wondered how to change that for the better..."

I think about this story a lot lately and I wonder how it fits in with this website, my photography, and my life in general. I take pictures because I love to, but what does it really do for other people? And do I really love to do it, or do I just think that I love it? Is it reasonable to continue in this direction or am I just being silly? I have spent a great deal of time thinking about this idea of not worrying so much about one's own self, and what they want to do. It is not a new concept to me, to be sure, but reading this story brings it to my mind in a new way. It makes me begin to question why I do the things that I do, who I really do them for, and why I may have certain goals and dreams.

Some time ago, I donated a framed copy of one of my finest photographs to a fund raiser that my niece was involved with. She asked me to, and I thought it might be interesting to see the public response. Towards the end of the event, I had a lady come up to me fighting back tears, and she said that if that photograph was in her house, it would change her life. I've wondered a lot about that. Could it really be true? Does, or can, fine art change peoples' lives? And if it does, is it worth pursuing it's creation? Or is it better to focus on something else that more directly affects a person's life?

I dunno...I really don't.

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