I was browsing through my collection of digital photographs that I have taken through the years (probably being distracted from some other thing that I should've been doing), most taken on travels, but some are of everyday life. And I noticed something.
My photographs show rather clearly that when I hold a camera, one of three personas becomes dominate: the Chronicler, the Artist, or the Observer.
The Chronicler: As a child, my sister was the family photographer because she was the only one willing to walk around with the beast of the thing that were cameras back then. But I also think psychology inserts itself here too because (I believe) she knew the value of that treasure - having tangible memories of time past. She acted (and still carries forth) like a middle child, although there are only the two of us. She's the peacemaker, the stable soul seeking stability. Now, I was the younger sister and played that role as best I could, causing grief to her daily. But I've always been fiercely loyal & protective of her too. As a pre-teen & beyond, I imagined that if she ever found herself in a fight (which of course is preposterous being a peacemaker) or was ever bullied in any fashion, that I would utterly destroy the perpetrator; she is, after all, my sister to mess with and make cry (sorry Kelli) and nobody else's.
All this to say, that I was not born chronicling, but have stumbled into it with perceived necessity. I've written before about memory and my amazing lack of it, so having a visual story-line that I can refer to as a manual recall of memories has become of great value to me.
(Summer studio 2007; Noragachi, Chihuahua, Mexico; process to make adobe block)
The Artist: these are the pictures that I most love to take. Some, without labels, I can't even identify what or where in context. My favorite topics: repetition, shadow & light, detail mechanisms or textures, and human interaction (though I have the guts to take far less of people because I don't want to intrude on someone else's moment).
The Observer: this is when I realize I have nothing to show for an event/occurrence/situation. I simply forgot I had a camera, maybe took a shot or two then simply observed in real time with both eyes. When I let the observer in me take over, I know I catch far more beauty in my mind's eye, and must then rely on some stray thought to recall them back from my disastrous filing system of my long term memory (or on someone else's pics).
However, if someone else has a camera, mine may never see the light of day. Maybe I'm an observer first and foremost, down to the bone, but I let the other me's come out and play.
Holy Week this year is like no other I have experienced. Yes, I now live in Germany, which I suppose would change things, but not all can be directed at location. In 2008 I lived in India ... and yes, those Easter-related observances were quite different as well. But this is different from my time in Texas and different from that Indian different.
I really do understand that the Lenten season is a mental and spiritual journey, but this time around, I think that I missed it.
Even though, while in India, my friends and the culture were newer to me by several months than my familiarity with my world here, I was in an intensely Christian environment. We were all missionaries doing missionary work. To do Easter et. al. with them was natural and built into our small community.
Germany is not a Christian-hostile country, but it appears like a Christian-ambivalent country. Most of my friends (from all over the world) are religiously ambivalent, non-practicing whatevers. Some of our discussions when a few gathered for Kuchen/cake baking (and a 2 hour walk waiting for said cake to cool) was about how inconvenienced we were since everything seemed to be closed for the government holidays. And I was right there with them when we set our hopes on finding an open ice cream kiosk after our walk under the warmth of the sun. I did not go to services.
Back in Texas, I was very involved in the church, especially during Lent. Lent was always busier than Advent (leading up to Christmas). The prayer times and bible studies. (and of course Fiesta is thrown into the mix.) Oh, and the orchestra, my beloved music: the centering music at Ash Wednesday, the celebratory anthems of Palm Sunday, the heart-wrenching tones of Good Friday, and the joyous revival of life found in Easter carols. Playing those put me right there. But not this time ... none of it.
It's like I have fallen asleep and adopted the ambivalence of the world around me. A good friend asked if my faith was wavering. And no, no it's not. My answer: it's like it's waning. It's becoming devoid of passion and value.
It's this odd place I find myself this Holy Saturday, between the darkness I didn't experience of Good Friday (Karfreitag) and the joy of Easter (Ostersonntag).
Have I found my future this very night? After hours and hours, weeks upon weeks of sifting through oh so many governmental agencies and international organizations, have I finally discovered a kindred spirit?
The United Nations Development Programme, Bureau of Crisis Prevention & Recovery: helps countries prevent and recover from armed conflict and natural disasters. (http://www.undp.org/cpr/)
This is exactly/verbatim/wholly encompassing of the direction I have wanted to take with my upcoming master's thesis project, and thus with my future career. Because my thesis semester is still one year away, I need to work it so that vielleicht I can collaborate my personal project (yet to be decided) with them so that then they can know of my awesomeness and hire me.
hmmm ... I need to discover the best medium and diction to illustrate my thoughts of "pick me! pick me!"