As I set off into the new year, I spend a fair amount of time looking at the past. I compare what transpired to the goals I set for myself and the studio, and plan ahead for the year to come. This seems almost universal at this time of year, and I have been contemplating why. And, like so many things in my life, I have found understanding of it in my studio, in the images I have taken, and in the experience of taking them.
Kyle and I have spent a fair amount of time over the last couple of years on paths, forested hiking paths in the mountains, small trails along the bluff overlooking the ocean, an assortment of rails to trails for biking. I am often sorely disappointed that I, for a variety of reasons, can’t seem to capture adequate images of the experience. First, when I find myself in a new environment, I study it and understanding doesn’t come right away. It is this understanding that gives me the ability to capture the meaning of a place. Second, I am attempting to stay present and somehow, no matter what camera it is that I bring to my eye, the act of taking a picture pulls me away from the moment. And last, you can’t always see the forest for the trees. (You saw that coming didn’t you?)
Isn’t that the way it is with our year? The planning and anticipation of the hike ahead is a wonderful part of the experience. But while we are en route we are watching our step, thinking of the task at hand, perhaps pushing ourselves a bit further than we think we can go, with only an occasional pause of wonder. And finally, when we have returned to the campsite, and slowed our breathing as we look into the fire, we get some perspective, and only then can we see the sum of the parts and find understanding.