This is a great read and got me to thinking, again, about why it feels as if photography has chosen me, why it feels as if I have come home when I have a camera in hand and a reason to use it, or even just a fancy to do so. I think it boils down to a sense that photography satisfies both my male and female internalised parents: what I mean is, my mother and father were fairly gender-stereotypical in some ways - my mother a liberal social worker, my father an empiricist, a scientist (a research chemist, he worked at the Chorleywood Flour Milling and Baking Research Association - FMBRA - he's at the link - NJH Dodds. I once tried to read a university thesis of his - I couldn't understand the first line - there's probably a thesis in that itself). My mother encouraged the arts, my father the sciences, although there weren't strict demarcations - they both belonged to the Chorleywood Community Arts Centre for example, and whilst there my dad made a bust of the local lollipop man; he also liked a bit of photography himself, having a Rolleicord and darkroom equipment that once or twice he may even have had time to use).
Anyway, anyway. Photography - I think it satisfies the internalised scientist in me (f-stops, focal lengths, hyperfocal distances, the inverse square law and not forgetting, in times past, actual chemistry in the darkroom), as well as the fluffy liberal arts major (the Art baby, the Art, the Search for Meaning in an Essentially Chaotic Universe). Shall we say then that, for me, photography represents at least partial resolution of the following condition, a condition that can, at its worst, lead to chronic low-level depression and lack of self-esteem:
Berne (1961, in Erskine, 2003) defined Parent ego states as “a set of feelings, attitudes, and behaviour patterns which resemble those of parental figure” [sic]. Parent ego states are an actual historical internalization of the personality of one's own parents or other significant parental figures, as perceived by the child at the time of introjection. »The historical accuracy of the portrayal is not particularly relevant.What is important is the parent-as-experienced by the client. A person introjects not so much what his or her parents “actually” thought and felt and did, as what he or she experienced them thinking and feeling and believing about the child, about themselves, and about the world« (Erskine, 2003, p. 105).
Me? Chronically depressed and with low levels of self-esteem? Well, at times my world-view isn't exactly rosy, though for the last few years it has improved - maybe this coincides with photography giving me purpose and meaning. I tend towards the dour but given a camera and a photographic rationale - these go a long way towards ameliorating this. Pretty much the whole way in fact. So sometimes the photographs reflect the melancholy in my Celtic soul (see below) - so be it - whatever gets you through the day brother.
Photography is a unifying and life-affirming activity for me and makes me feel whole, as if I am satisfying some internal gap or missing element. When I am immersed in it there is nothing else I would rather be doing. Nothing.
And now, here's a picture:
Last Light, Aberaeron