Friday, November 21, 2003
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Clayton News Daily
There are some people I've met who as far as I can tell define their lives as: A. Stuff and B. Whatever it takes to get the stuff done. "Just get it done" that's their motto. Tasks and the completion of those tasks presumably 'til your poor heart fails you. That's it. No commentary, no interpretation and certainly no room for fun. You live in a box, you drive in a box, you watch other "personalities" on a box, and you will ultimately rest in a box. Why not loosen up in the meantime and come out of your shell? Do you really want to view life as a series of items to check off a "to-do list"?
I have a great need for artistic interpretation. A lot of people look at art as a form of entertainment, a divergence away from their regularly scheduled lives. For me it is an integral part of life. It's not so much about watching indie movies or enjoying artsy music as being able to respond artistically to the real world around you instead of plugging it into a rigid formula. I'm not suggesting you need to get out to a museum and appreciate other artists, just take a look at yourself. These are certainly not elitist ideas here, I just need some of you to not be so uptight.
Utilitarians and robots, say what you will against these ideas, but I feel my artistic sensibilities better equip me to deal with life's troubles and disappointments while also recognizing the positive moments. To define myself as an individual in this life and communicate with others and also separate them from the unfeeling masses. As a photographer I must be personable, conversational, and genuinely interested in the voices of others. Maybe you can fake these things on your job, but I can't. Are you all tuckered out at the end of your workday, having to smile and shake hands with ... who were those people again?
Now I'm not daydreaming in the clouds while there is important work to be done. There is no shying away from responsibility here. I love my job and I'm happy to say that the robots can't do it (at least not yet). I chose photojournalism because I didn't want to just move data from point A to point B. Photojournalism allows for a dramatic interpretation of our collective history. I need sharp eyes that require a sharp mind to function. I need to be observant of the people and places I come in contact with. Still, It doesn't matter whether you are a journalist moving copy from the computer to the published page or a farmer moving crops from the field to the dinner table, it's all equally pointless unless you can enjoy yourself in the process. That's all I'm sayin' here, get some pleasure out of what you do instead of treating your entire life like it's one big chore. If that's the case then, "just get it done."
Zach Porter is a photographer for the News Daily. His column appears on Mondays. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.