Half Century

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by MattKing, Jun 15, 2006.

  1. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Thoughts and questions near the end of my birthday - as I turn 50.

    I think of all the blessings I have - family, friends, joys and experiences.

    I wonder what is to come - will I have more time and opportunities to enjoy my photography, as compared to the last few years. Certainly I have the desire to do so, thanks to a great extent to having discovered APUG and all the people here.

    I’ve had a fine day - a tough day at the office, but otherwise many good wishes (and a few jokes, and some truly twisted and funny cards) from lots of people. I have received generous gifts from my lovely wife and my wonderful parents, and a wonderful meal at a special restaurant that I have wanted to visit for a long time.

    Turning 50 probably has the same effect on me as it does on many - it makes me think of things.

    For this post, I have two questions, and two wishes.

    Question 1 - for those of you who have already attained and passed the age of 50, did you find that your photographic vision continued to grow and mature after you passed this artificial milestone? If so, how?

    Question 2 - for those of you who have a ways to go until you reach this age, where do you want to be (photographically) when you are 50?

    My two wishes are directed to two who have shared personal experiences here:

    Jorge - much strength, good luck and healing - get well!

    Cheryl Jacobs - much happiness in your pending marriage.

    Paradoxically, no photographs were taken today. That’s okay - there will be lots taken in the future, and the memories will linger in any event.

    No one should feel the need to respond to this thread, but if you would like to, I look forward to checking for responses tomorrow when I log in.

    Matt

    P.S. I've posted this in the "Ethics and Philosophy" forum, but if it should be in the "Lounge" instead, please feel free to move it.
     
  2. roy

    roy Subscriber

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    Matt, just do not think about it ! You probably do not feel any different than you did the day before you were 50, so what is the big deal?!

    My photography did not take off until past 50 as it was then that I had more time. Previously I took "touristy" slides but later I determined to find out more about photography, went to part time classes, learned about photographers, the history of photography, set up my own darkroom and produced my own work. You could say that my vision expanded as I became much more involved with b & w photography and covered the whole process. I had pictures accepted for salons and competitions. So age means nothing in this context.

    We all have Jorge and any others who need our thoughts and good wishes at this time in our minds and wish them well.

    By the way, I am another year older today !
     
  3. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    I turned 50 almost 5 years ago - this year is "double nickles"!

    Nowadays, I do think I've gotten more reflective generally and that this has impacted my photography in subtle ways.

    For instance, I am shooting a lot of flowers and other flora (i.e. close-up and marco work) - whereas in the past I was more interested in "scenes" be it city street or landscapes. I believe I am also a more patient shooter - figuring that if I don't get "the shot" now - I'll get it later.

    Most of all, I am shooting more generally than before - perhaps in anticipation of future leisure time. Thus seeing photography as an important endeavor I will want to pursue in even greater depth when I finally get to have more time on my hands than I know what to do with! :wink:
     
  4. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    First, Happy 50th, Matt! :smile: Welcome to the club!

    I have to say that I am really not qualified to answer this, even though I am 50 (with a few years of experience). I never really started photography until right around the time when I turned 50... so I am an old newbie! :D haha

    I have no idea where I am going with my photography, only that I want to improve. I guess I am waiting for an epiphany! haha Better come quickly! :wink:

    I am so happy that you have your parents still with you and can spend time with them. I cannot tell you how deeply I miss my Mom who passed away almost a year after I turned 50. It is wonderful that you treasure the people in your life.

    So, Happy b-day to you! :smile:
     
  5. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    Later this year it is the double nickle for me, too. At Fifty, I decided to look back photographically and the result was the "Fifty Project." (You can see it on my web site.) I think that my vision has improved, but my eyesight is headed in the other direction. Why does that happen? I think that my photographs have become more personal rather than imitations of what I think a photograph should be. I am more selfish in my vision, trusting my own opinion rather than what I think others might want.
     
  6. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council

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    Happy Birthday Matt!

    I'd like to be considered a 'master printer' by 50, which gives me a little over 4 years. Wish me luck...:wink:

    Murray
     
  7. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Matt,

    Happy Birthday!!! :D :D

    I hit that mark 2 1/2 years ago. Didn't phase me. Just keep going forward, enjoy life, your family and friends and photography.

    Rich
     
  8. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Happy Birthday! :smile:

    I'm 55 - for the record. Turning 50 did nothing for my photography; being, as you said, an artificial milestone. The real milestones have been hanging around other photographers with similar intentions, but better skills. Lee Carmichael, Matt Magruder, Les McLean, et al; met through APUG and/or at various workshops (you know who you are :wink: ), have been incalculable influences.

    However, had I met such people 20 years ago, my ego and relative immaturity might have not let the influences "take", if you will. So maybe being over 50 really has made a difference in that respect.

    Cheers,

    50 is the new 30 ... :D :D :D :surprised:
     
  9. Wigwam Jones

    Wigwam Jones Member

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    Happy Birthday from a (soon to be) 46-year-old!

    May I suggest a birthday present to yourself, since you're reflecting on 50 years?

    http://www.hamiltonbook.com/hamilto...10001f240271d424d36d60651+EN/products/4139771

    AT THE EDGE OF THE LIGHT: Thoughts on Photography & Photographers, Talent & Genius.
    By David Travis.
    ISBN 1567922112
    $12.95

    David Travis is the Curator of Photography at The Art Institute of Chicago. One of the things he treats in his book is how genius is freed, refined, and made altogether better by, well, age. His specific example is Edward Weston, with examples of work produced by poets, authors, and other artists past the age of 50. An example here:

    http://www.sfmoma.org/exhibitions/exhib_detail.asp?id=30

    Happy Birthday again, and you'll have to let us know how the photography is from where you are (grin).
     
  10. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    If I am not mistaken, Richard Avedon was shooting Hugo Boss underwear ads in his 80's with a massive day rate.
     
  11. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    And, I know the when I spoke with Peter Gowland I believe in November? or December? he was alive and well, still conducting business, and I believe about 90.

    Rich
     
  12. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    Well, David.... I know that the only possible influences I could have had on you would have been all bad. hahaha :wink:
     
  13. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Thanks all for the responses - and birthday wishes.

    Reading through the responses makes me think that my original post may have come across as being a little bit too somber.

    I am looking forward to the future - I was mainly curious as to what others thought about the 50 "milestone", and whether it affected their perspective.

    I was also curious whether those who are younger have thought much about it (I guess we have found at least one topic that Marko doesn't want to comment on - or start a poll about :tongue:).

    And with respect to my passing on best wishes to Jorge and to Cheryl Jacobs - I wanted to do so, and I thought it added appropriate perspective to do so in this thread.

    Thanks again,

    Matt
     
  14. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Matt -

    Happy Birthday!

    Late last week I was out with my camera making a picture of an old barn. A guy was driving by and say what I was doing, and chose to stop to chat for a while. (That happens when you are using a view camera.)

    Anyway, during the conversation he said something about age, referred to his own age as "60's", and implied that I was older. Now, it may have been the hat I was wearing (something that you tend to do when you get older - to cover up the bald spot), or it may have been the gray hair (which turned gray when I was in college four decades ago), or it could have been because I was using that "old" view camera, but the fact is that I'm actually younger than he was!

    Age is what you make it to be. I like to think that I'm in my mid-30's. Mentally, in terms of my outlook on life, that's probably about right. Physically - - - well, we won't go there.

    But if you think young, you are young. That's what really counts.

    Now,how does that affect photography? I think there are several answers. First, if you take advantage of the experience that comes with having been around the block a few times, you have made a lot of mistakes, and know what to do to avoid making the same mistakes over again. But, if you think young, you will retain a healthier sense of adventure and a willingness to take risks, and that will tend to make your photography more vital and alive. Yes, that means you will probably make a few mistakes, but becaue of the experience factor, they won't be the same ones you have made before.

    I remember when I was 55. I took a workshop that year on the nude in the landscape. And I was part of a group that got busted by the cops for having a nude model in a public place. Three months later, I entered one of the images from that workshop in a show, and after a couple of days the director called to explain that he had to take my image down because of the complaints that he had received.

    Wow - after living for quietly and conservatively 55 years, I finally did something outrageous!
     
  15. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    I'll be 56 in about a month. I didn't begin to photograph well, either technically or aesthetically, until I was 53.

    This had nothing to do with my age. I ran into mentors in 2002 who "turned on the lights". This could just as well have happened at 22 as at 52. In fact, a photographer I know who was 22 at the time took the same workshop I did. He seems to have acquired the same gnosis I did even though we differ in age by some 30 years.

    I've come to believe that it's never too late to do anything you care about.
     
  16. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    No, Matt, it's OK. As you approach 60, this will be nothing ... :tongue:
     
  17. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    As someone on the short side of 50 (mid 30s), I want to be somewhere that my work is exhibited, appreciated, and I can earn a decent income off it. I hope that my brain does not stultify sufficiently by the time that I turn 50 (or 60, or any other age) that I cease to grow and mature artistically and intellectually.
     
  18. ricksplace

    ricksplace Member

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    Happy Birthday!

    Life is all about living and learning. I'm 52 and I feel like I'm thirty. My photography is improving (in no small part thanks to this site) and so is my life. I've been a single parent for years and have enjoyed my kids as the focus of my life. Now they are 24 and 19. My 19 year old daughter just bought her first motorcycle (500 ninja) and my son, who has multiple disabilities, just started his first job. Life just keeps getting better and better. I'm not bragging by any stretch of the imagination. It just seems that the harder I work and the more positive my outlook, the more luck I seem to have.

    Turning 50 is the best yet.

    My aim in old age is to be shot by a jealous husband when I'm 99. (just kidding)

    Rick
     
  19. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    In all honesty, brain stultification sets in shortly after one has passed through his/her mid-30's! By the time you reach 50 you are in a hopeless state.

    And, despite desparate scientific research for a cure, this situation is irreversible. In fact neither pomegranite juice nor green tea mixtures can stem the degeneration despite what the ads tell you!

    Indeed, within a few years you will discover that a brain's attitude begins to shrink in equal inverse proportion to the growth of its wisdom! :D
     
  20. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member

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    Happy Birthday Matt!

    not 50 yet so I'll just take notes.
     
  21. BWKate

    BWKate Member

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    Wow Matt, Happy Birthday!

    I had this idea that you were in your thirties!! Isn't that funny that I made that assumption about you. I just had my birthday recently and it always reminds me of what I've done and what I still want to do. I seem to take stock at that time of the year. When I hit a milestone I seem to think about the past, etc. even more.

    I'm not 50 yet and won't be for a little awhile but I hope by then I will still strive to make photographs I care about. It seems the older I get the less I worry about other people's opinions and just concentrate on doing!
     
  22. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Thanks Kate - I guess it's my natural, young at heart nature showing through :tongue:

    Alternatively, maybe all those years of having my hands in the fixer have rendered me archival at last :D :D

    And thanks everyone else for your good wishes, and thoughtful comments.

    Matt