Saturday, March 24, 2012

Art and Me

While I walked around Brisbane and inside the galleries, I felt compelled to have to learn things that would directly tie in with my work. I thought that was the purpose of my trip, and kept shooting ordinary repeat patterns in architecture, mumbling, "How can I use this?" and the answers were usually, "I can't, not really, it's boring."

Then, while crossing one of the long bridges across Brisbane River,  I asked myself what's wrong with just enjoying, looking and experiencing art, and I had no good answer. That's when I decided that not "studying" art but just enjoying isn't a bad thing, and that I'm not wasting my time or money just savoring the sensation. And that's when I decided I didn't have to take pictures of every interesting building or sculpture or crack in the sidewalk.

A month removed, these two paragraphs read so ordinary and you may ask why I'm bothering to post this, but I have a very bad memory and whenever I go away the urge to record for myself what I'm experiencing usually wins over the urge to just immerse myself where I am and experience it, and I end up with a lot of pictures, especially this side of digital, with which I don't know what to do after I upload them to the computer, and still feel guilty culling.

This was one of the few trips in I've managed to concentrate on seeing, hearing, smelling and a little bit of touching and eating Brisbane, and didn't bother to photograph or record, (i.e. write, or worse yet, list!) as much as I might have.

This was a big shift, and a big load off my shoulders. I don't know if I can always do this, and there were a few things I wished I had photographed, (students in bedsheets stampeding in torrential rain rushing to what must have been one giant toga party my first night would be at the top of the list,) but I think I made the trip a more saturated experience because of this.

I feel I established a bit less adversarial relationship with art, and a bit more amicable one with myself. 

Note to self: try this again.


  1. I love this post. I too love taking photos of places I go. I can even remember an instance where I lost a camera in puerto vallarta. All I remember from that trip is not having any photos. I forgot, until recently the wonderful encounters I've had, the bonds with strangers I've forged. And the places I've visited. All in just one place. *sigh* though sometimes I wish I had an actual thing to look back at. And say look at all these cool people I met and the awsome places I've visited.

  2. Ah, you just reminded me that in 2003 we took a six-week trip to Scotland and Ireland, with one then-new digital camera and one or two film cams. It was a good trip and we took a whole heap of photos.

    Several months after we came home, perhaps after we had culled the baddies, we had a major computer crash and lost all the photos, not just from the trip but just about ever digitally saved pics. (The camera was relatively new, then, so the photos were mostly from the trip.)

    I'm sure if we still had them, we wouldn't look at them that often, but a few might remind us of the good times we had. Fortunately I had bought a few pamphlets and booklets at historic homes and such. The rest, Ben and I have to try to remember what we ate, whether we liked a place or not, if we were hot or cold. And it's while we talk about the trip we sometimes make up new memories.

    So, all is good. Got to live in the moment.

  3. I'm hopeless about taking photographs on trips - I simply don't think about it most of the time. On the whole, I think I am quite glad about it, as I find photos turn an overall impression into a set of discrete snapshots (literally!) and then my memories crystallise around those snapshots and I lose the bits in between.

    It's a bit like telling anecdotes - with some of the well-worn anecdotes of my life I feel I'm now remembering the telling rather than the incident I am telling about. Some have had to be retired lest the actual memory disappear altogether.

    I'm very glad you had an experience to savour in Brisbane :-)

  4. Some of my past trips have been memorable because I remember each moment of taking gazillion pics, which is not necessarily a bad thing for me, but I was only an agent for the camera, and I don't know if I've experienced the place.

    The worst trip I had was 2003 when, instead of taking pictures, I did more of buying and picking up brochures and collecting postcards. I have the printed material I bought/gathered, but I really don't remember much, and that's the trip for which the photos were lost later on. I remember two things out of six weeks; Ben's emergency visit to a dentist near Elgin, and half a day of shotting photos in a ruin near the River Shannon towards the end of our trip. I waited 30+ years to visit Dublin and visit Joyce-related sites, and I do remember the tower and the tiny museum, and being allowed to go up the stairs at the Central Post Office by a security guard, but that's too little from a six-week trip.

    I need to find a good balance on my trips. As to my anecdotes, I figured I've told them at least 20 times each so I do need to acquire new anecdotes, Cally.

  5. Sounds as though Brisbane has generated a few... I love the story of the tall guys in the gallery!


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