anthropology and capturing the dream

Monday, 2:15am

This past weekend I participated in an online workshop led by photographer Penny De Los Santos. It’ll take me several days to debrief… longer still to fully internalize all that I’ve learned. I hope to make a few posts this week relaying some of the key concepts that Penny mentioned and sharing some of the principles I’ve learned about photography and storytelling. I hope you’ll take the time to read these posts even if photography is of no interest to you. As I sit still for a moment with the workshop sessions still fresh in my mind I keep returning to a single thought: The ways a photographer approaches her subjects — be it travel photography or food or portraits — are the very ways I want to approach the mundane details of life. James Oseland, editor of Saveur magazine, said it best during the workshop: “You are an anthropologist of the cultures you shoot.” Expanding that, I say, “We are anthropologists of the cultures that surround us, that influence our daily lives and our beliefs and our personal art.” Every day is a chance to explore something new and to take with me another little piece of everyone and everything that surrounds me. I sit here at this morning hour and realize (again) just how many opportunities I simply do not take.

One of the final thoughts that Penny shared really does sum up what I always meant to be in my life. This is the person I thought I would become. Or, at least, it’s the place I thought I would be closer to at this stage of my life. I’m grateful that my life has not ended and that every day is a new opportunity. I’m feeling enormous regret as I think about the current state of my life compared to my first teenage dreams of travel and writing and discovering the world. I can’t help but wonder how I derailed in the first place, and I am a little overwhelmed at the thought of trying to make something better out of the future. I know it’s one day at a time, but as I write this I have no idea how to even begin. This week, I’ll be pondering these words from Penny with a prayer that everything will soon become more clear to me.

Be inspired.
Love what you do.
Have insatiable curiosity.

As in everything…
Lead with your heart.
Be open.
Follow your instincts.

Penny closed the workshop relaying a conversation she had with her brother when she first set out for college and was feeling all the fear of a new situation. These statements resonate with me more than anything else she said this weekend. She asked him, “What if I’m not good enough?” He responded, “What if you are good enough?” That’s the question I want to grasp tightly going forward. I want to keep telling myself, “Sure, you’re frightened of failing but… what if you are good enough?”

Capture that dream,” Penny said. “Capture that dream and meditate on it.

Now I just need to determine what that dream is for me. I think it’s been pushed so far down inside of me that it may take a while to remember, but I’m excited about rediscovering it. I’m excited that I can begin anew, each and every day.

Join me this week as I share more of what I learned from Penny’s workshop, including a vast amount of information about creating great photos (and creating art, in general).

click on the image to visit Penny’s website and view her remarkable photos
Norway, image by Penny De Los Santos


About Jules Q

sharing stories of life, faith, and love for pop culture

Posted on 16 May 2011, in Stories I Tell and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Sounds like it was a truly outstanding learning opportunity!! Looking forward to more posts on this!



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