Even better backyard photos will never be as exciting as Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge. But with a bit of strategic landscaping and gardening, you can still have an enticing destination for stunning photography! Did I mention the travel time is a lot less than Art’s trips?
Over a 4-day weekend from March 17-20 my wife, Bonnie and I traveled with three of our Asheville NC photography friends to the small coastal town of Kure Beach (pronounced like Madame “Currie”) south of Wilmington NC. The beach just south of town has about a 200-yard section with a display of “coquina” rocks most of which are adorned with a very smooth variety of green seaweed.
In mid-January, my wife Bonnie and I traveled to Florida for a 3-day workshop on “The Art of Seeing” with photographers Les Saucier and Janet Garrity. We went to fabulous locations from our base at the Tween Waters Inn on Captiva Island.
Our grandson, Martin turned 3 years old in early November and over Thanksgiving week, we were present to join in for the day-after-Thanksgiving visit from Santa in Oxford MS. This was the first year Martin wasn’t in tears from the Santa adventure.
But you can see that he still wasn’t quite sure what to think! Our daughter and son-in-law were much more excited about getting to see Santa than Martin was.
I enjoy exploring the history of cultural traditions like we have around Santa Claus and Christmas, bringing good children gifts, and coal for those who have been misbehaving. Once I got past the age of believing in the ‘real’ Santa Claus around the age of six or so, I remember reading a picture book we had about the origins of Santa Claus beginning with real historical Saint Nicholas.
Since I no longer have that book, and wasn’t sure of the details, I searched and found a fun website, Why Christmas with an article that verified my recollection of Saint Nicholas and how he came to be the patron saint of not only children, but also sailors.
While none of the stories can be fully verified, one in particular contributed to the modern day tradition about Santa coming down the chimney and depositing gifts in stockings hung on the mantle. Here’s the story quoted from the website:
“There was a poor man who had three daughters. He was so poor, he did not have enough money for a dowry, so his daughters couldn’t get married…. One night, Nicholas secretly dropped a bag of gold down the chimney and into the house (This meant that the oldest daughter was then able to be married). The bag fell into a stocking that had been hung by the fire to dry! This was repeated later with the second daughter. Finally, determined to discover the person who had given him the money, the father secretly hid by the fire every evening until he caught Nicholas dropping in a bag of gold. Nicholas begged the man to not tell anyone what he had done, because he did not want to bring attention to himself. But soon the news got out and when anyone received a secret gift, it was thought that maybe it was from Nicholas.”
Back to our own story with Martin’s Santa encounter this year, it was a happy ending in spite of a bit of trepidation evident in Martin’s expression. I had fun watching and documenting the event with my camera. Turning the photos into a story that inspired a bit of research into the Santa Claus tradition was the icing on the cake.
“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing–and keeping the unknown always beyond you.” ~ Georgia O’Keeffe
We are all artists, creating the journey that our life becomes. Making art is simply a way to explore and practice the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical elements of our power as creators. I love the quote from Georgia O’Keefe because it reminds me that the important thing is to keep exploring the art of creation. It’s a continual discovery into the unknown and making the unknown more visible to ourselves and the world.
I expect that discussions about “finding my personal voice”, or in the field of business, “what is our differentiating value” are common across many forms of creative endeavor. Often we may undermine our own exploration and discovery with self-doubt, premature judgement and narrow rules or beliefs about what makes “art” or what makes a business product or service of unique value to its intended audience.
So here’s a reminder to myself and anyone who may need it right now, that finding your unique or differentiated voice is a continual process of exploration, discovery and new creation. Nothing in life is static. If we aren’t continuing to explore and create anew, then we have curtailed or even stopped the journey to new possibilities.
Enjoy the play and the magic of the journey without getting too hung up on arriving at an imagined pinnacle of perfection of what it is to be a “successful” photographer, artist, entrepreneur, business leader (or add a noun of your choice).
Keep playing, creating, practicing — and your voice will make itself visible and heard. That’s what creating the images in this post are doing for me, and I hope enlivening a similar inspiration for my readers!
Check out my online photo gallery for my continuing journey of finding/creating my own voice.