I like to consider myself a reformed pessimist. I’ve fought depression and reached the point where I can take a breath to reset myself. It’s a constant battle that everybody faces, to play down the inner voices of fear and shame and strive towards positivity. And there are things I’ve learned on the journey.
I like to describe what I do as an art. A lot of people would disagree with me on that point, saying instead that photography is to art as a copying machine is to eyeballs. I can argue that art is in the intent, and that many visual arts are a representation of perception, and I can have it thrown back at me that photography is too vague, too reproducible, and too derivative to truly be art. It’s a debate I’ve had before, and one I’m sure to have again eventually. And it’s a debate I’ve watched one of my favorite writers, Chuck Wendig, spell out on his blog where he disagreed with Neil deGrasse Tyson.
One of the most critical things any person can do is to have a sense of authenticity and self-ownership: to not only recognize the traits that define yourself, but also be willing to display those traits openly to a society which seems keen on wounding us. How far must we go in order to fit into a society that has such narrow expectations of us? How much of our individuality must we compromise?