PLAY DATE...

July 17, 2020

 

Among the abundance of wisdom Fred Rogers imparted to us in his lifetime was his assertion that, “Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.” It's a truth which is by NO means limited to children. Regardless of our age, always there is something new to be learned - a skill to be honed. The space of this collective pause extends to us a wonderful opportunity to get back to the long lost art of play. Not only is play a wonderful distraction, but it also offers a desperately needed pressure drop.


"Don't write love poems; avoid those forms that are too facile and ordinary. Rescue yourself from these general themes, and write about what your everyday life offers you."


In an effort to source some resilience during these heavy days and hours, I've taken to stamping out a weekly play date. For me, these immersions are creative, and they basically look like a solo couple of hours on a designated day once a week. NO agenda, NO expectations... NO finish line. Of course there are weeks when, despite my best intentions, the commitment simply does not happen. But, for the most part, these dates for practicing what I am learning are non-negotiable. What I am ever learning is how to be true to to my voice through my camera...

   

"To know how to play," wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson, is a "happy talent". My weekly self-engagements (intentionally) sport a bit of a "la-di-da" quality. Given that, my LENSBABIES are the perfect companion. For those who are unfamiliar with LENSBABIES, they are manual focus fine art camera lenses with names like Twist and Velvet and Swirl and such. They were designed specifically to invite photographers of all levels to see in a new way. "Let's be surprising," they dare to say. By removing the weight of "precision" and "nailing it", the product line nudges the user to loosen their grip resulting in a kind of poetry that I personally have not been able to tap into using traditional camera gear. I also tend to show up for these practice sessions utterly unprepared in terms of a subject or concept I plan to capture. Taking a cue from the (above quoted) teachings of Rainier Marie Rilke, I instead try to take any marching orders from "everyday life", and what it happens to be offering me. These days, my life experiences seem to be pointing my focus to "home" and the concept of being held, carefully and quietly.

   


The unusual, the unexpected, the unbelievable... just some of what I have come to expect from my outings with these wonderful lenses. As illustrated by the images sprinkled about here, there are lots of happy accidents that occur in my "play". But, who cares? For me, the practice is part of the fun of it. For a couple of shining hours each week, I get to follow some new threads not tied to any particular outcome. In that space, the daily drumbeat of gloom vanishes, my mind gets a little stretched, and perhaps everyone is better for it? Here's to "happy talents", mine and yours! 

 


 

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