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Location: Montreal, Quebec
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A rant? Of sorts? kindof? things.

user image 2011-01-02
By: TheSilentRebellion
Posted in:

So. I have a friend over right now. She's actually someone I've known since pre-kindergarten. Almost feel like she's my little sister or somethin' :-P We got to talking about school, and what we're doing and where we're headed and stuff. And recently I've been questioning that. The discussion made me realize to what point.

I'm a self-proclaimed artist. I draw, I write, I paint, I make sculptures, I photograph, I program, I write music, I write songs, I practice digital arts. All with the intent of expressing myself, my emotions (which I very, very rarely externalize, except with people I feel a very particular/special connection with), my thoughts, my views.

I am in university, at the moment, and fully intend to complete my degree. Usually :-P (all kidding aside, I will finish it.) But that's not the point. The point is that I have a few options I've given myself. I know I want the degree, to provide myself with some sort of flexibility in life. It will open up doors that may not have been open to me otherwise. Doors that I may wish to walk through, or not, at a later point in my life. I also know that the degree I'm going to have won't open all the doors I want. Many of those, I'll have to force myself through if I choose them. And some of those doors could close others.

For a very long time now, I've known exactly what I want to do: I've always wanted to open a visual effects studio. I'm studying digital arts, and am fascinated by the possibilities that new media offer to the creative people of our world. The speed with which we can communicate, the environments we can create, the odd interactions we can generate... it's all very interesting, and I love to see what is being done in this field and love to think about what I could create in this field as well.

When I was in high school, though, I got my first digital SLR (camera). I had played with photography for a while, but usually it was just snapshots or other barely thought-out photos. That camera opened up a whole new world for me. I found that I could capture small pieces of the world, as I saw it, manipulate it in such a way that I felt it truly represented my experience, and present it to the world. That's when I first started to question my goal of opening a VFX studio.

Over the years, I continued to take photographs, acquiring more equipment and getting more creative. It got to the point where my only thought was to get school over and done with and head back to East Africa where I basically 'grew up', and back to the Selous or Serengeti and just photograph the wildlife to make a living. Maybe selling shots to magazines or for postcards (I love taking wildlife shots more than... just about anything else...) More recently I've been questioning my motivation. I feel like, having the power that we artists have over people, in their emotions, their thoughts, their motivations, their thoughts, there are things that are more important to both myself and the world to photograph. Things that should be seen. Things that I've seen, that the rest of the world should know about. Things that I want to see, but haven't, that the rest of the world should know about.

More and more, I've been thinking about photographing war zones, poverty and violence. Because I think many of us (myself included. very much so, in fact.) live sheltered lives. In a lot of what I've seen in North America (and I'm not generalizing, here, I'm just expressing an observation) people's greatest concerns are the hooligans who fucked up their lawns, the kids who graffiti'd their wall, the people who are making too much noise nextdoor. We hear about what I would call "real" problems in the newspapers, on tv, on the radio, but it's always somebody else's problem. The way -I- know, of bringing that back to people's lives is to expose them to it in a much more... explicit, up front manner. I want people to see more photographs of what's going on in the world. I know they already exist, but I feel like it's a case where quantity is just as important as quality. They both are. I also have this far-fetched idea that somehow, I might be able to get my photographs out in a way that separates them from regular news channels that censor and twist and mold everything. I'm aware that, as a human being, and by the very nature of photography, it is inevitable that I do the same, but I also know that as an individual, I can hold myself to the ideal of being as objective in my presentation as possible.

I spoke to my mother about this idea. Her response was, "Please, just wait until I'm dead?" Which I understand... She doesn't want me putting myself in harms way. And though she may have said it with a bit of humour, I have no doubt that she meant it seriously, inside. That, and the fact that I'll have spent four years of my life... or... a few more, if I think about things differently, dedicated to a completely different goal, which now seems almost... petty, makes my mind hurt. I know that there are two things I really want to do. Two objectives, of sorts. Two... options. Both of which seem very selfish in very different ways.

I think I need to understand who I am and what I truly 'live for' to make the decision about where I want to go and what I want to do, but I don't think I have that answer yet, which means I'm probably pretty far from finding any other answers any time soon.

Maybe I just need to go camping. Being out in nature always makes me feel more in touch with who I am. :-P

I'd love to hear your thoughts about it though :-)

01/03/11 05:37:59PM @thesilentrebellion:

I think my prof. presented a few of her pictures during my photography course last semester. Intense stuff.

You voice the argument interestingly, and I think you're right. People, in many parts of the world, seem so focused on themselves that even though the hear and see things about the rest of the world to a certain extent, it's not enough to drag them away from themselves. I think that I, myself, fall into those people, but have had enough exposure to the outside, that I know I want to get away from the mindset.

I guess right now, one of my problems is that it's something distant. I can tell myself it's what I want to do. It's something I believe in, but who knows if I'll have the courage to do it when the time comes... I hope I do, if it's the decision I make.

Steaze McGee
01/03/11 04:12:29AM @steaze-mcgee:

I like where you are heading. There was a photographer during the Dust Bowl in America that had a huge influence on the people and culture of America. Her name was Dorothea Lange. Her pictures still stick were used to replicate the images for the movie Grapes of Wrath, the cinematic of Steinbeck's novel. What I am saying is that photography has a huge influence in culture and I agree with you that here quantity needs to be boosted. The more we see something the better our memory of it is. and memory is character. If the right pictures were seen by many then a whole people can be changed.

My father is from Iraq, Kurdish, and I wish i had a larger pool of resources to gather from, be it media or art, on this subject.

I don't think the problem often is about the underprivileged but the overlooked. I think this is a problem that either stems from a chance of not seeing others but more often it is about pride. Pride is the gaze that focuses on itself more than others and pride is the gaze that America has on itself instead of its position in the world. I just think we need some humility in life. A lowering of our gaze so that we do not overlook what is going on around us. I think you have that and that means a lot to me.

It is a tough choice to willingly walk into a war zone, and even more to do it on a side not bent on war. I commend you for putting your mind to this issue. Thank you.

01/03/11 03:15:10AM @thesilentrebellion:
P.S. I can't believe you read though that whole rant xD Thanks for that too! :-P

01/03/11 03:14:18AM @thesilentrebellion:

Thanks :-) That actually made me reconsider the way I was thinking about things, and I really appreciate it! :-D

I usually try to think that way: that everything, whether positive or not, leads to who/what I am, and I should try to appreciate it, but sometimes I find a little bit difficult. :-S

Again, thanks for your thoughts! They helped me get back on track! :-D

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