Friday, December 27, 2013

Day 355 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author/publisher,
Dane F. Baylis


While I was putting together last night's post, I used a couple of my recent photographs to help illustrate my point. One was really more of a snapshot, a cabin on the snowy bank of Big Bear Lake. Something intended as a reminder of a wonderful week spent there. The other was a more formal shot done with the intent and purpose of capturing the magnificence of the sunsets we often experience here on the West Coast. As I was flipping through the latest download from my camera, I was reminded how often inspiration enters first by way of one of the five senses. (That's the occidental view, the oriental view counts intellect as a sixth sense.)
As a westerner, I still see the mind as the great filter of the mundane world. Here color and form, smell, feel, sound, and taste are all melded and transformed into our thoughts and emotions. This is the beginning of the creative process and a step past true inspiration, the spark that ignites the powder train of our desire and ability to express. We are incessantly bombarded by sensory input, the vast majority of it being visual - after all we are human animals and the most effective avenue to our mind and spirit is through the eye.
How many times have you encountered something that started your artistic mind whirling, only to find yourself struggling to recall the impact of the moment when you finally gained access to your chosen medium? This is why I so often carry a camera. I am a school trained photographer, one of that army turned out by Brook's Institute while its major campuses were still in Santa Barbara and the school's reputation was at its zenith. Long before I walked those halls though, I had been taught that a true photographer always had a camera in his hand.
Through this extension of my vision I learned to frame a moment in time in such a way as to tell a story. I wandered the streets of Europe, catching the people and the scenery, rarely posing anything, always trying to anticipate the moment when the frame would contain the right elements in the correct relationship to communicate what I was feeling as I watched.
As writers, we should remember that what we are trying to do is to communicate a sense of environment, inhabitant, and interaction in order to express emotional content. The things in the world we encounter are so fleeting that it only makes sense to have a camera at hand. With the advent of the ubiquitous smart phone, this is so easy. It gives us the opportunity not only to capture the still image, but also the motion picture - with sound.
No longer should you be in the unenviable position of struggling to recall a detail of light, form, melody, laughter. All these are yours for the keeping. Especially when you encounter that something so unique and out of place that it triggers your inner storyteller instantly. As, for example, this apparent memorial found on an evening's stroll on a less traveled side trail. What story is implied by flowers and a rough cross partially obscured by snow in the hollow at the base of a tree?

What tale does an image like this evoke for you? Something created from whole cloth? Or, perhaps, it touches some memory and takes you back to feelings you thought long past? How long have these things been there? Are they intended as a memory for someone gone to the ravages of age and time? Maybe they are a memory of a fond pet? They might be intended as some religious shrine in a natural world more significant to their arranger than ever could be a church or cathedral. How many roads have you walked or driven along and said, "I just don't have the time to wander down that path or trail. I'll try to come back someday"? Have you? I think you should, don't you?
Just another helpful hint from your Uncle Dane.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------, love, write. Then go take a walk. Oh, and don't forget the camera!
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Dane F. Baylis

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