Brian's Photo Blog — Article 65
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Half-Century Milestone
Wednesday 28 March 2012   —   Category: Thoughts
Well, whaddaya know? Today marks my the completion of my 50th orbit around the sun! I guess that makes me a real space cadet!

Supposedly turning 50 is a big event, but for me it’s just another day. I’m even the one who is cooking the main meal today, which is usually not the case. My mom’s chile relleno casserole is awesome — yum, yum, yum!

So what am I doing on my birthday (which, as I said, is just another day)? Nothing special. Cooking the main meal (which we eat in European tradition at noon instead of in the evening). Writing my daily photographic blog. Mounting 16 photographs on foam core board for the next camera club competition. My home office sure needs cleaning up!

As I look back on the past half-century, one thing that stands out is how I have come full circle with regards to my photography. During my teenage years I was so passionate about photography that, when I was approaching the end of high school, I considered attending the world-famous Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara — in the same county as I was then living, and just over an hour away from my parents' house.

Somehow that idea petered out fairly quickly — I don’t exactly remember why. Perhaps it just didn’t seem practical. I’m sure I wondered if I had what it would take to make it in the competitive world of professional photography.

For whatever reasons, my head won out over my heart, and I pursued a computer programming career rather than photography. Imagine how differently my life might have turned out if I had followed my heart instead of my head! Maybe that’s a lesson learned that I should apply to future decisions?!

Once I sold my SLR camera equipment at the end of college, my photographic passion seemed to evaporate from my life, just as my photographic equipment had. You can read more details in Brian’s Photographic Journey.

Now, decades later, my passion for photography has reawakened, and is burning stronger and brighter than ever. But I’m not developing any new illusions about ever becoming a professional photographer. I still don’t think I have what it takes. I lack the entrepreneurial spirit to run my own business — photographic, computer, or otherwise. I have a great distaste for self-promotion and competition. The whole dog-eat-dog mentality — and trying to prove that you’re better than the next guy — is disgusting, and I don’t want to have any part of all that.

As I wrote in a blog entry ten days ago, if I start to take my photography too seriously, and focus on achievement and competition and winning, then I’m starting to strangle my passion, and killing the very pleasure and joy that photography brings me. It’s much better if I simply enjoy my photography, do the best I can, and let God take care of the success and achievement part.

Looking towards the future, it’s very hard to say what’s ahead. As someone once said, “Nobody knows the future — you don’t even know what’s going to happen in the next minute!” And if there’s one thing I've learned in 50 years of life, it’s that things definitely do NOT turn out how you imagine they will. In fact, I would go so far as to say that if you’re imagining your future a certain way, it most likely will NOT turn out that way!

Thirty years ago, as I was just starting out on the path of adulthood, I NEVER would have imagined that I would be living in Albany, Oregon, with a Swiss wife and three kids, unemployed for over two years with no end in sight, and pursuing photography as a hobby practically full-time! Who COULD imagine such things?! Is this the plot from some kind of bizarre book, or what?!

So, seeing that I don’t even know what is going to happen in the next minute, and that whatever I imagine my future to be most likely will NOT be, it’s really impossible to speculate about the future. As my life unfolds, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, I’ll find out what my future is as it arrives and melds into the present. This is exactly what James was writing about in his letter.

So, we’ll see what the future brings during the second half-century of orbits. I definitely can’t imagine it lasting THAT long! But I am hopeful that whatever happens, photography will have a central place in the story.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 65
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