“We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune.” ~Theodore Roosevelt
Image above courtesy of Steve Dimock Photography
The image above is part of a labyrinth which was created by local artist Denny Dyke. The detail art in this particular piece was done by local artist, Christine Moehring. You can read more about this in a previous post here Circles in the Sand.
What is the important issue at hand?
It’s hard to believe that January has come and gone. I’ve been reflecting on the first month of my “Time to Linger” project and trying to decide how to describe my experience thus far. (you can read about my project at this link) There are multiple issues that have occupied my mind and I thought that I could get away with writing about the easier ones like logistics or style shift in my photos and the like…no such luck. My conscience tells me that that is the easy way out. I guess I will tackle the tough one; politics. After all, that was the initial catalyst of this project….concern over our protected lands and the planet in general, due to climate change.
Does my voice matter?
I am struggling with being able to support our new president and his administration. I did not vote for him but initially was determined to keep an open mind and give him a chance. The ability for me to do that has come and gone. I have been alarmed at the choices he has made for his cabinet and closet advisers and at the executive orders that have come at us with rapid fire. It is relevant to my work because I am wrestling with finding a useful voice as it relates to my photography work and this project.
I don’t want to incite more anger or division and I don’t want to alienate my supporters and social media friends. But I also don’t want to sit on the fence, reticent to jump off lest I get my boots dirty. Too much is at stake in this country and the world to be silent and “safe”. I could use the one voice is insignificant excuse but with my social work background I know all too well that each and every voice matters.
Doing my part?
I will confess to my seemingly petty concerns about speaking up on social media. Will I lose followers? Will I lose both cyber and real world friends? Will my chances of succeeding in photography diminish? I embarrass myself to wonder about these things but I also know that I am not alone. The advice of many marketing experts in the photography realm is to “avoid religion and politics”. I understand that but also feel that the times no longer allow that luxury. While my “petty” concerns are legitimate and can have real world consequences in my life, they are “just” concerns. What really keeps me up at night are those things that I feel are of larger consequence; those things having to do with our protected lands, our wildlife, our earth, our human rights and our humanity. Such things are of great consequence to me because they eminently affect the world that my grandchildren and yours will one day inherit. But I know the antidote to my anxiety. I sleep a lot better and do a lot less hand wringing when I’m proactive. It eases my mind by decreasing the sense of powerlessness when I take some bit of action, no matter how small.
Case in point; I remember in 2010 when we experienced the horrendous Gulf oil spill that devastated wildlife and their habitat. I felt so distraught and helpless as I watched the hideous images on television depicting the suffering pelicans covered in oil. I decided to take some action by creating a pelican poster with a photograph of mine that I then used as a fund raiser. The money went to the National Wildlife Federation to specifically aid in help with cleaning up of wildlife. It wasn’t a lot of money but it felt mighty good to do my small part.
Fear based approach?
I learned a long time ago that I don’t respect myself when I live a fear based life. Instead, I gain a sense of dignity and pride when I make decisions based on what I feel is right rather than on what is easy, comfortable or non-confrontational. And I fully recognize that what is right for me may not be for the next person. At the risk of sounding cliche, I believe it’s important to be authentic and true to oneself. And this, my friends, is what I will attempt to be. And if you still follow along for the ride, I am grateful! ~ Susan
Please enjoy a few more favorite pics from January. I notice my attempt to include more details in the foreground like sea anemones, lichen, crustaceans and even logs. They enrich the story for me.
Final note: If you are a photographer or simply a nature lover that would like some ideas on ways to take action check out photographer, Sara Marino’s recent blog post on this topic. It’s a great resource.