“I’ve never been accused of saying too little”
– Peter Pazucha
When Peggy and I decided to retire she was an office worker and I had my photo studio. I had been doing weddings, some landscape work, a lot of nature photography, and humanscapes (the term I had used for the landscapes we live in — our bodies.
While Peggy wanted to be out of the office, off the computer, and away from the fuss & bother, the meetings and emails, and the never ending issues of complaining employees that had become her job.
I wasn’t in quite as much of a hurry to stop creating images but I was completely in favor of Peg’s retirement. She’d put in more than 33 years with Aurora Healthcare and we both could see that it was time for her to be gone. The organization was on the verge of converting to a new software system that would have required her to teach and oversea her staff’s training on software she knew nothing about and that by itself was reason alone to have pulled the plug.
Our decision to become full-time RV’ers wasn’t hard to reach — Between March when we decided and the end of September when her employment ended, we set our new course, looked at some 100 different RV’s, and found one we loved: our 2002 Winnebago Journey DL.
I had been making images since we were married. We took more than a few vacations with more camera gear than clothing. Then I started blogging about images — and other topics — about 2006 — WordPress came along in 2003 and it took me a few years to discover the tool and implement it on my own website. Over the years I had numerous problems with WordPress hacking and finally gave up on self-hosting a blog blog — going over to WordPress.com.
Before that I had been working on a small Christian Journal. So writing had been part of my life for a goodly long while before I started playing with the blogosphere. Gradually spending time alone with my blog and my thoughts became a regular part of life.
What I have come to realize is that I’m spending more time blogging than I am shooting. I’ve made repeat comments about not getting out my cameras and such over recent months but I guess the realization finally dawned that images aren’t as important as once they had been. I find that I’m more interested in communication — which is really just picture telling with words.
Besides, everyone’s taking pictures nowadays. The advent of digital has changed the world of photography. Any cheap digital camera can take great pictures. All you have to do is snap at the right time, and focussed on the right subject. Easy Peasy. As with many other times in my life when it’s no longer a challenge I want to move on to another challenge.
I’ve been coming to this point for a while. With digital images many commercial photographers have found themselves out of business. Weekenders can call themselves ‘photographers’ and take jobs with no business overhead. Because they have no overhead they can ‘afford’ to bid weddings, and portraits, etc., for lower prices seeing as their income from a job might well be considered nothing but ‘Beer money.’ Thus it has happened that for many the bastardization of the industry has found them looking for other employment. Also, with the InterWebs there are so many public domain images out there that for someone looking for an image to illustrate their point it’s hardly necessary to photograph anything in public sight. For my own unique sort of work, once we made the decision to sell the house and the studio I pretty much opted myself out of continuing my work with Humanscapes — The lighting gear is essential and there’s no suitable space for a studio in a 40 foot RV.
I had a lot of fun during my employment days — shooting scenes, critters and people. I met a lot of amazing people. But now, nearly 4 years after retirement I think I can say I’m finally retired from photography. Oh, I’ll still get out the gear from time to time— I hope to do that a lot this autumn and winter in New Mexico at the refuge. But the impetus to shoot is very much different now, and I’ve finally come to realize it, and accept that. Images were my way of sharing with the world. — Too often they were the only way I felt comfortable sharing in a world that is too noisy and filled with clamor and self-interest. You don’t have to say a word when you show someone a photo. And they don’t have to phrase a rebuttal.
I thought that if or when this happened I would feel badly. But I don’t, and a few days ago something happened that put the world of communication into clearer perspective for me. You see, it’s a privilege to be able to communicate. Not everyone likes to do so, not everyone wants to do so, not everyone can do so.
Since we became full time RV’ers my daughter and I have had our own private blog. Wordpress offers “private” blogs that are not monitored by indexing robots and that are accessible only by password. For traveling people like us, which close relationships that was ideal. And for the two of us, that blog became a very helpful and wonderful tool for maintaining our close relationship — and also as a way of growing as communicating adults, no longer just father and daughter.
Gradually Katy began to do more than just comment back to my posts; she started writing her own posts where she could say what was on HER mind, not just respond to what I had been saying. That was wonderful. She’s a really interesting person, but I don’t know how much she realized it. Oh there were/are still those times when her constructs drive me crazy and I wonder where she gets the idea to make up a few of the words she uses — but I’ve been watching the ever-so-slow unfolding of a beautiful flower.
Just this last week she decided to try her hand at her own blog. No, “Hey Dad, how do you do this?” — Nope. One day I’m sitting there reading and I see her blog on my feed. I’m tickled to death! She’s finding her voice. She’s a supervisor over a mini-gang of people but now she’s finding her own voice. Ya Hoo! and Hot Dog! and WoW! I’m tickled to death.
I’m not going to post the address here. She’s still trying to figure out what she’s going to do with her blog. Like everyone else learning something new, she deserves time to twig her purposes and set her course. But as the traditional Communicator in the family I’m delighted to see that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I’m happy that she’s breaking out of the shell she’s been comfortable in— something I think is a big deal for people in their 40’s.
I have long felt that our 4th decade on this earth is a time of huge change for many/most of us. I won’t go into my theories about the teens, twenties, thirties, forties, fifties and sixties. Maybe some day, but there’s no need to go on and on here. Not even for the guy who’s been known never to say too little.
Suffice it to say that now that Katy has entered that hallowed decade called the 40’s she’s going through the same experiences most of us transition though in our forties. They’ve been married 25 years, their only daughter is out of the house, has finished her education, has a serious fellow, and is living 300 miles away. At work she has taken on more responsibility. They just finished their Loft/Industrial home remodel and now for the first time there’s idle time in her life to be filled in new ways. Yup. Plenty of changes have happened to her in the last couple years. I look forward to a period real growth for her as she enters into a new phase in life. I look forward to hearing — in her own words — how she’s processing these things and what’s coming out the other side of the dark tunnel of personal growth. Those changes in life work alterations in us as well, and I’m eager to see who emerges the other side of the 40’s. It’s exciting for me. And I’m happy for her. It’s a gift to be able to communicate; I’m happy that she’s wanting to try out her wings and see what she learns.
So, maybe for my own blog things may change a little. Knowing that a good number of people who were checkout out our blog were not themselves RV’ers, I have been writing from the stand point of the what’s, where’s, when’s, why’s and how’s of becoming an RV’er. Even my non-RV’er readers have heard a good deal about what it means to be an RV’er, and a fulltime one at that. So, whether I will retain that thrust or broaden out my focus — I don’t yet know.
I enjoy blogging. I enjoy the interaction with a few readers. I’ve never been one to write for the sake of building readership. I’ve always said that this is primarily my own personal journal — and it is. This blog is how I process the world around me. But, I guess that now I’m more of a blogger than a photographer. I couldn’t care less about fashioning a post around pictures from the day — I haven’t really done that in years. More often I have something on my mind and the pictures are just there to ease my brain along the way. Sometimes it was the taking of a picture that got my mind started on a train of thought. Other times the train of thought was there long time, and the image is just something that I dug up, or out to help the reader join the journey.
Well, enough about communication for today. I’m still tickled pink about my daughter and just wanted to share her journey and mind. Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.