I am back from Maine where I spent hours measuring and capturing light. I photograph with film and part of that decision is I need the slow, deliberate process of thinking of nothing but light. I stand in fields or by the waters edge with a little light meter pondering how I will capture and interpret the scene before me as I see and feel it. By doing so, my brain slowly but surely empties of all other thoughts. I hear the waves lapping the shore and the mocking caws of the crows that follow me. I am alive in a way that I’m not in my everyday life.
I brought 7 cameras. Two Holgas, a Hasselblad, a Polaroid SX-70, a Polaroid Land camera, my 1930 Linhof Technika and then my G9 digital. This collection is representative of various times in my life. I don’t know who I am right now so I brought everything. I didn’t use the Linhof or the G9, which represent the easiest and most difficult of my cameras to use. My friend Frieda came with me and once we found a spot I would stand next to my car look up at the sky and decide which camera to bring. The length of the hike weighed in on my choice too. My arm will not allow me to carry more than one. Once I decided on what camera or lens, I took off without looking back. Years ago I would carry more than one camera, more than one lens and let the scene itself dictate to me how to interpret it. A large heavy backpack brought the choices with me. I no longer have that luxury. The Lymphedema in my arm is slight but its voice is loud. The pain increases if I carry heavy items for too long. The ensuing swelling is dangerous and the fear that envelopes is paralyzing. Standing alone by the shore, I let go of what used to be and instead took up the challenge of using what I had in hand. Thanks to Frieda who pushed and prodded me to try I was able to pass through my obstacle of perceived and actual limitations. Yes, I can’t carry everything but I can carry something and with that I will create. Standing on the shore with the waves lapping and the crows cawing, I realized I wasn’t dying but very much alive. The cobwebs anchoring my pains and fears from the past two years were blown away by the gentle breezes. I’ve spent so much time and energy covering my ailment at work that my job somehow became all of my life. I lost the creative side of Mae and now know it is time to balance the two. That is the challenge I face now as I sit at my desk.
When I had returned from the trip I met up with Vita for lunch. “How was the trip?” she innocently asked. I said it was great and then went on to expand on how I needed to change or blow up the life I have. She looked at me. “Do you realize what you are saying?” “Yes,” I replied knowing full well it sounded like a rant of madness. It isn’t though. Its just time to pull up anchor and maybe tour the port I’ve been moored in for years now. Step on the gas just a little bit and shake things up. I’m talking to my accountant and a realtor to just explore the possibilities. I may just set anchor again exactly where I am or I may move on. What I do know is there are 30 rolls of film waiting to be developed and a possible show too in the wings. I also know I haven’t felt so light in spirit in years.