I take a lot of photos.
I’m not a photographer. Just a commoner with a camera. But I enjoy trying to grab a shot that brings out the beauty or uniqueness or humanity in something or someone.
I’ve noticed that taking a picture puts me in a strange predicament.
Part of me is in the moment, living it. Another part of me is outside the moment, trying to capture it.
So I’m never fully inside or outside any moment I’m trying to photograph.
The same is true when I write.
Part of me is hammering away on a laptop somewhere. Another part of me is in an imaginary world where characters come out to play. And where what Ralph Waldo Emerson calls “primal warblings” float in the air like radio waves seeking an antenna.
I call these “in-between spaces”. They are like the overlapping area in a Venn Diagram. They are places of tension, where two or more things pull me in opposing directions.
My job, as an artist, is to exist in these in-between spaces—to work partly inside and partly outside each moment I’m given. Which means I give up being fully “in the moment,” as they say.
By standing just outside life’s moments, I can capture their beauty and, hopefully, bring it into another person’s life.
Knowing this makes the sacrifices and hard work worthwhile.
From May 2012 to July 2013, I wrote a weekly series of intimate essays for writers and artists seeking a deeper connection with their identity and place as modern creatives. I called this series Root Notes. This was an essay in that series. It was originally published on September 20, 2012.