I have never really felt the need to write as much as I feel at this moment. Photography and writing are a form of catharsis for me, a purging of the soul, an introspection; and I know by the end of these words, I will feel calmer. It is one of those times when you feel the need for someone to listen without interruption, without judgment, without suggestion, with nothing at all, but to listen with a realization and recognition that I am flawed beyond compare, I am human, I have many fallibilities and failings and that I err more often than most. That’s just me.
I am writing this because somewhere I feel this tumult and turmoil deep within. After a long, long time. There is uncertainty on more fronts than one. Many reasons really, but its not the reasons that matter as much as what I feel. I feel as if I am unable to express myself, I feel as if I cannot say whatever I want to say without being judged, and I feel as if I cannot be silent. Paradoxical but true: I cannot say, I cannot be silent.
Silence. What a beautiful experience. To be quiet in solitude. I believe we don’t understand the need for solitude. I believe we don’t understand that answers to questions which lie within, are not found outside ourselves but inside. I find these answers when I write and photograph. Alone. Not with you. Or you. Or you. As I stare at this photograph, the words of Bei Dao come to me:
“In the world I am
Always a stranger
I do not understand its language
It does not understand my silence”
However much I love being alone in the mountains photographing the raw, unblemished beauty there, I prefer photographing people. Being in the mountains is meditative, being with people is pensive. Subtle difference in the act itself. I photograph strangers whom I meet along my travels and my journeys, and by the end of the day, they no longer are strangers but their faces are etched in my memory forever. I see their eyes, and then I see all else. Those eyes for me are a mirror to the soul, and in almost all the eyes that I have seen, I see loss. Which is what I feel right now. Loss. And being lost.
But then I need to remember that as sure as we gain, as surely shall we lose. I need to remember that what is born must die. I need to remember that the sun rises to set again. I need to remember that winter is always followed by spring. This is the circle of life. I need to remember these words of Siddh?rtha Gautama, the Buddha:
“In the end
these things matter most:
How well did you love?
How fully did you live?
How deeply did you let go?”
Yes. Let go.