Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wherein I Get Out of the House and Do Something Intellectual

I just got back from hearing Annie Leibovitz speak. She showed slides of some of her photos and read a bit from her new book and answered questions from the audience. She was obviously uncomfortable, especially when the questions were about her own celebrity or the well-known figures she's photographed. She laughed at herself when she couldn't form a complete sentence and clearly preferred reading from her prepared notes, though she even stumbled there.

But when she was asked a couple of questions about her craft - about digital vs. film, or how her photography has changed over the years - she became articulate and went on at length. She said her advice to young photographers was not to wait around to be assigned a subject, or get a job at a magazine, or for someone to tell you what to do. Choose a subject you love, and follow it, and learn all about it. Take photos of your loved ones, of things you know.

Thanks for your comments on my post about the disappearance of my European lifestyle. I thought of them tonight, when Annie said to focus on the things you know. And I thought about something that Courtenay said:
"...no matter where you live, you are all of the past as well as the present."

It's hard to trust our own experiences, to feel that the things we love are also worthy of our focused time and attention, and to remember that we don't have to try so hard to be who we are. There's probably a lesson in here about living in the moment and simply trusting that our experiences will inform our values and our choices without trying so hard.

But it's getting late and I'm a little to tired to make that point, so I'll just say thanks. To you and to Annie.

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