April 6, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut
Yoga By Candlelight
There was a time when I looked at a camera as if I were looking at a bucket of paint or a stack of lumber. Back in the day my camera was a pile of stuff to do a job. Things have changed since then because now, my camera is a weapon, a friend, an employer and journal. The really weird thing is that I used to look at one of my photographs as a raw canvas that would become a work of art after I ran it through Photoshop. It’s different now because rather than using bullshit post-production techniques to fake a great photo, I use actual photographic experience to make a great photo. Photoshop has now been relegated to being nothing more than a tool in my box, just like a flashlight or a hammer.
The photo above is an original piece of art I created in 2007, and let sit on an unobserved shelf since then. At the time, for some reason I was trying to decide if I was an artist or a photographer. Defining what I was seemed more important than actually doing anything. There is a great line from a late 1990’s song called, “Steal My Sunshine” by the band, Len that I repeat to people around me today:
“And of course you can’t become if you only say what you would have done, so I missed a million miles of fun.”
I was introduced to that line of lyric at just the right time. At the time I was less than 5 years removed from an epic journey through South America and barely a year from an amazing, self-destructive path I’d cut through North Africa. Not to give anything away, but details from both those adventures and the time in between have already been sold and are being made into a Hollywood movie. I would be more excited but… Meh. What is soon to be new for the population of the world was old news to me 15 years ago.
Still, watching a 17 year old boy on vacation with his parents in the Virgin Islands that signs onto a Greek cargo ship as an able-bodied seaman that takes him to Brazil were he sails up the Amazon River to the foot of the Andes mountains only to be deported and flown back to America where he joins and serves 4 years in the Navy, hops a ship to Morocco, then heads east to Syria where he had to flee the country at night to avoid having his hand amputated for stealing oranges might have some appeal for American cinema folks. What do you think?