Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Living Branches On a Dead Tree

 A great metaphor for this little town, and a beautiful anomaly.  I don't know the nature of plants or trees well enough to understand how a manzanita could appear to be completely dead, but still have living branches that bloom.  This is my backyard; literally; there's a fence and everything. 


Today was eventful.  I sat in my car for a couple hours waiting for a grain delivery that never showed, and decided to contact some beautiful souls that I was interested in working with.  One was very interested, and would surface later; the other started to talk, then disappeared; on a day when a third was set to shoot, but ended up with the flu.  All of which baffles me a bit, but my immediate creative future seems somewhat promising, in this backward little mountain town.
 After decades of shooting, I finally captured a bee, in flight, in focus... servicing a living branch of a dead tree.



 Our mighty Chairman Maow has been reduced to a "lion cut," due to his inability to groom himself.  That was yesterday, but he finally came out from underneath the couch and faced the world, and also to eat some grass.  He is apparently an herbivore now.
 We played with some product placement and dof at home, with a beautiful little thing she noticed, but you have to actually read the can, and I understand that things like that require far more focus than the average mind is capable of.
Then we headed into enemy territory to hear Gemini sing, with Juls, for the last time before she ditches out again, sharing dinner with the first mentioned girl I was interested in shooting, and, ironically, ended up ten feet away from the second girl who was interested in shooting, I'm assuming, what I shoot.


Small towns, though.  I'm not really even sure if any of that made sense, but whateva.

I'll get to the apostrophe shorty.

Frame It

We take the best family photos.


Dinner with Grandpa tonight.  I think he's officially seen Ero, in her first seven months, more than he's ever seen Dag, in all her 17 years.


That's pretty fucking sad.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Processing Things and Such

 Once again, this potentially beautiful town has forsaken me.  I rarely ask anyone if they want to shoot, primarily because I got sick of dealing with people being so terrified of it.  I've been explaining for years that you don't have to be anything other than you.  If there wasn't something there worth shooting, I wouldn't want to shoot you, and all I do is want to shoot, so figure it out.
 I'm not looking for anything extraordinary; I can make that.  I can not, however, make people appear before my camera, regardless of the beautiful things I could accomplish with them, not to mention even getting anyone to understand how simple and uncomplicated this whole process is.  So, in my frustration, I continue to shoot boring shit that is so readily available to anyone with eyes, half a brain, and time to kill. 
 Never has nature been so terrified to just be and be documented.  It is truly a shame that such a beautiful aspect of nature has been conditioned to be so silly about being itself.  

 I continue to sit here, in my confusion, exhausted from my continual attempts to explain very basic, creative common sense.


You don't get it, though, and you most likely never will, which is fine.  It is what it is.  Well, let me put it this way: I don't like shooting flowers and birds; hate it, in fact; I don't enjoy photos that anyone takes of these, or similar subjects, because there is little to no art in it; they've always been there and it isn't difficult to catch them.
 I would much rather see a photograph of the photographer who took them, because I appreciate the human aspect of nature; nature is nice to be in, but documenting it is like doing the same math problems over and over again in elementary school: I fucking get it.  The complexities of the human emotional set and the depths of the human soul are so much more interesting... to me, anyway... apparently just to me and a select few, because the average person seems to be perfectly content with the mundane boring shit.
 How do you capture a natural aspect of nature that is conditioned to believe that it isn't beautiful enough to be a work of art?  One thing that has been a constant frustration over the course of my life in this potentially beautiful little mountain town, is that it never even came close to its potential.  I see beautiful people everywhere who have no idea how beautiful they are.  

Wait.

 I keep forgetting to factor in that most people probably just don't like me, or are afraid of me.  Fuck.  Once again I have fallen back into that comfortable creative mindset, where I simply do not understand why everyone wouldn't want to be a work of art.  Realistically, most regularly reduce themselves to far less than art for people that they like.  So where do I fit in there?  Hmm.

I wonder why I can't get anyone to go out and shoot?

 You wonder why I'm usually in a shitty mood?  It's probably because the potential beauty that I see, which is basically everything, doesn't like me.

Nothing likes me.

If that weren't true, then we'd be out shooting every day.

How's that for math, Don?

 At the end of the day, these boring uneventful days, this is supposed to be an art community, one which preaches openness and spirituality, but I am yet to really find any of those things, aside from very select, tiny pockets, for annoyingly brief amounts of time.  I shouldn't have to look under rocks to find works of art in a spiritual, open, art community.
I found a waterfall.


You missed it.


You probably know of better places.


Why don't you take me there?

Duh.


 Tonight my girl was sent a photo from my mom of my first daughter, quickly approaching 17, in her prom dress, on her way to obvious event.


I received zero photos, and was asked to take even less.


I didn't even know that was happening.
Tonight I was sent home early and happen to meet up with my girls on the way out, so I found a rare opportunity to enjoy a few of the beers I made, babe in arms, with this beautiful soul that I get to live my life with, in this amazing place that is set to be my life, surrounded by potentially beautiful things.


If only lAvaNyamaya meant "consisting entirely of potential beauty."

Monday, April 17, 2017

Für Eines Meiner Vielen Kinder

There are no good or bad days; there are only days, and how we choose to perceive them.





🙏

Meditari

One little thing that most don't know about me is that every morning I read a meditation out of Deng Ming-Dao's 365 Tao.  I started this habit when I got out of jail in 2003 with the first version of the text, which was one that I stole from a book store when I was a nihilistic teenager and was added to the collection of books that I was pretty proud of but never really read until I was banished to the desert in 2013.  That first version of the book was given to someone who I thought needed it, and that habit continued through the years, as I would gradually replace it and continue reading.  I had thought recently that some of the passages that I've been reading everyday for 14 years would make decent blog posts.  This morning's, day 107, was withdrawal, as in back to the source: "...This is why followers of Tao always use the word returning.  They recognize the necessity of activity in life, but they always recognize the need to return to Tao.  In Tao is the source of all things,  and in the source one finds the renewal that one needs to go on with life.  This back-and-forth movement between the source and the activity of life is the movement of all things."  
That is what has been missing from my life for years.  Though I did find plenty of withdrawal at the Zen center every Sunday, true meditation for me is shooting.  I always referred to myself as a Zen photographer, and I don't think I ever really successfully explained what that means.  Most professional models see a statement like that and assume that I'm just a guy with a camera who doesn't have a plan, but I do have a plan, which is to allow the universe to unfold before me and capture it.  You never know what's going to happen, and knowing exactly what you want usually leads to disappointment because we will never get exactly what we want, and while we are trying desperately to get that, we are typically missing what's actually happening, which is usually more beautiful than what we want, because it's real.
John Daido Loori's The Zen of Creativity helped me figure out what I was already doing, but a recent read, Torsten Andreas Hoffman's Photography as Meditation really solidified my approach as an ideal, instead of my being bad at what I do, or a bad creative, because I don't like setting things up and wanting a specific style, when all of that is a living organism to be handled in the moment.  The opening passage of the latter: "Meditation and photography have more in common than you might initially think: both deal with the present moment, both demand the highest degree of awareness, and both are most attainable when the mind is empty and free from distracting, outside influences."  Now ponder that statement and understand that the only shooting I have done in the last two years has basically been with the girl I'm in a relationship with, and the children who are perpetually attached to her.
Most of the time we go out to shoot I quickly fall into a pretty grumpy mood.  I figured out why.  That is what we should do as accountable humans: recognize that there's a problem and figure out why, then you can try to fix it.  Madison had to harass me to finish sorting the photos I took of her and my girls back in January, so here's some more of those.  For those of you who are also confused by my mentioning Taoism: Taoism is one of the ancient belief systems that was a cornerstone in what would later evolve into Zen.  That's a gross simplification, but that is all I have time for right now.  Back to work.

Monday, April 10, 2017

lAvaNyamaya

 I suddenly feel the need to clarify what's going on here, since there could be a little confusion between the name of this blog, which also happens to be the pseudonym of this muse I've found.  Maybe I've explained this as some point, but I don't remember, and I currently don't have the time and energy to search for it.  idiedatbirth was my brand, and about six years of my life thoroughly documented, and remains my brand and ongoing project, but I created this as a division between the old creative life and this new one, because my personal focus and journey changed completely in 2015.
 I was primarily shooting this soul because of access, but at some point she decided to pursue this on a bigger level.  While brainstorming for a pseudonym, I passively suggested Lavanya Maya because that was the project I had started, but wasn't really doing much with.  She ran with it.  So now the title of my current blog is the name of the model who is the mother of my children, which is fine, but this is still all my work and writing.  The title is her name, so you would think that the blog should be hers, which it is, but not directly.
Does any of that make sense?  She has her own blogs.


Mine. lol


Having more day off is incredibly refreshing because I have more time to explore this beautiful world that exists in my head, but I am already starting to feel like I am failing as a supporter.


Everything will be beautiful.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Enigma

I'm just a tired old man now...


... and that's ok.


Suddenly life became beautiful again.  I'm not sure why, but I hope to figure it out.  The horizon has opened up a bit.  I can see more of it than just the hazy sunset.  I can see where I am, and what I'm doing.  I feel like I've had my head down, staring at my feet and doing my job, for the last two years.  I really didn't have the opportunity to like or not like what was happening.  I just noticed that the corner of the big picture was peeling off the wall, so I kept picking at that little corner until the skin on my finger was raw and bloody... then I had something else to complain about.
I've gotten a glimpse of that bigger picture again, and all it took was laughing a little about the silliness of all the corners that we pick at, especially when your bigger picture is mundane because you're doing what you think you're supposed to.  My bigger picture is pretty fucking beautiful.

The other day I wrote pages on how relationships existed for one simple reason, which was a basic joke by the ever intertwining universe: two people exist intimately with each other to destroy one another; it is a way to displace energy.  The problem is that, out of ego, we fight it, which creates more energy and dissonance.
The point of Zen is destroying ego and just being, which creates a natural harmony with the energy that we are all bound to.  The pages on relationships began as an observation of what we do to make relationships work, because we are bred to feel like we need them, and while I believe that we inherently need interaction, we don't really need intimate relationships.  They primarily fail because they are not what we want them to be, but who the fuck are "we" and who gives a shit what "we" want?  We become what we think they want, because we want them; they become what they think we want because they want us: that's two souls who are destroyed by the other in hopes to find what they think they want based on what they're told they're supposed to have.
Each of us, each individual human soul, is a box full of puzzle pieces, and anyone with half a brain and half a heart spends their life trying to assemble these puzzle pieces, only to realize that the more you fit your pieces together, the bigger and more complex the puzzle gets.  When you add more individual human souls into the equation, you add more puzzle pieces to the box, ad infinitum.  With the loss of ego, and need to solve your own puzzle, you discover that the true secret to success in life lies in the ability to give up pieces of yourself to complete other people's puzzles, until they, maybe one day, realize that there is no puzzle to be solved.


Friday, April 7, 2017

Stop Doing What You're Doing and Do What You're Doing.

I've been studying Zen for about 20 years, most of my adult life; not Zen Buddhism, but Zen.  I still believe Zen Buddhism to be an oxymoron, like saying you're and atheist christian.  People in my immediate life believe me to be Buddhist because I spent so much time at a Zen Buddhist training center in recent years, but more aesthetically shallow, because I spent most of that time with my head shaved.  My experience with Yokoji was more out of convenience than desire, as it is very close, and I have a surreal connection to it that I only realized after spending time there.  I am in no way saying that I don't adore the souls there; I absolutely do; and since I was accidentally forced to work Sundays, sitting in that space has been something severely missing from my life; but I don't consider myself a Buddhist, though I appreciate the Zen of it all.  In my decades of study for my own sake, the best thing I ever read about Zen was written by Alan Watts in a book about Zen:






"Stop reading about Zen."


I continue to read about Zen, even though it's the same simple thing said a thousand and one different ways.  One thing that has really helped my mind level off is getting back into reading for inspiration.  Let's face it, it is difficult to find inspiration in a book about yeast, especially when most of the information is still way over your head.  I had to pause my educational reading and get some photographic Zen reading in, and I am finally beginning to feel some peace in what has been a chaotic couple weeks.  Even as I write this I am having a low grade panic attack thinking about having to work a Friday night in a high volume kitchen, but I got a couple chapters in about the Zen and meditative approach to creativity and photography, so I'm just breathing.  There I go talking about work again.  It has been a peaceful morning, and I got some rest and time with my kids.  I am focused on that, and the Zen of rolling cigarettes.  That should keep my head on straight enough to make it through another maelstrom.  Yesterday is the distant past, and tomorrow is the unforeseeable future, neither of which exist.  

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Clarity

 I don't know why such an obvious thing eluded me until today, but I did realize that I mostly write about work, which is not at all what I ever intended, and nowhere near what I wish to focus on as a creative.  I just work so much that work is constantly on the forefront of my mind.  I really don't mean to harp on it as much as I do.
 There is a fine line between living to work and working to live.  I love my job.  I really do.  I can see that there are a lot of people on my little mountain who would love to do what I do, and I am grateful for the opportunity to do it, which I have mentioned a number of times, seemingly forgotten amongst my rambling about being exhausted from working too much.  Even the in-between-brewery shifts in the kitchen are something I am pretty happy with.  While kitchen work isn't something I necessarily want to do, I do enjoy it for the most part.  Working in a kitchen and being on the front lines are two completely different things.  I'm used to running my ass off to make sure the important people have what they need.  Now I'm more responsible for the finished product, which is awesome and terrifying.  I don't know why I'm so convinced that I'm horrible at this.  I'm not being down on myself.  I think I really just understand the importance of experience, and I am making it work in two areas where I have little to none.  This is my experience.  You're watching it, whether you like it or not.  lol
 Things have been hectic and stacked, but we're starting a new empire, and I can't even begin to describe how proud I am to have been one of the staple employees to make it happen.  Yeah, I work a lot.  Yeah, I'm tired.  We are all in the same boat here, and I never meant to be the sea sick one.
 That being said, today Facebook reminded me that it's been two years since I worked with a professional nude model, aside from giving Anastasia a ride from LA to SD and getting a little shooting done at Black's Beach later that year.  That's pretty fucking depressing.  I have amassed a beautiful portfolio with this amazing soul... that I wake up with every morning.  While I am grateful for this opportunity, there isn't much skill involved in shooting someone you spend all your time with.
The last two years have been a surreal series of last minute cancellations, or inability to collaborate with anyone creatively because I didn't have the time or money.  I know everything is going to be fine.  All of this is happening for necessary reasons.  I see the reasons, and I can't wait to discover more reasons.  For the time being, we just keep going, and try to smile about it all.


Technically another post about work, so... sorry.  Hopefully my mind will open back up again soon.


Everything smells like beer.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A Brief Escape

Stop trying to be something, and just be.

Today we got away for a little bit, and everything became depressingly clear.  I want to be doing this every day, everywhere, and perpetually writing about how beautiful life is, but I am, instead, doing this, and that's ok, for now.  I was able to put a lot of things into perspective today, and have officially become a flight risk again.  I don't like this town; it's full of boring people who don't understand what's important.  I want to be out there living my life, with beautiful people who understand that life doesn't have to be what "they" tell you it's supposed to be to keep their scam alive.  I love my job, but I also love my life, and I would like to live it.  I would like to have the freedom to go out into the world and just be with my beautiful little neglected family, and still be able to make enough money to support them, realistically, and I don't think there is anything wrong with me saying that.  I just want all of this to work, but I need this; I need my baby, and rivers, and nature, and days off, and road trips, and freedom, AND a job that I'm proud of that pays all the bills but doesn't consume my life and spit it out at the end of someone else's dreams.

You don't understand.

Breathe.