"How to be a (Photographer)"

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Dan Henderson, Jun 13, 2010.

  1. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    This morning I went out for a quick shooting session in the morning fog along Lake Michigan. On the way home the program "Living with Faith" was airing on National Public Radio and featured a poet named Wendell Berry, who read the following poem:

    How to be a Poet
    (to remind myself)

    i.
    Make a place to sit down.
    Sit down. Be quiet.
    You must depend upon affection, reading, knowledge, skill-
    more skill than you have-
    inspiration, work, growing older, patience,
    for patience joins time to eternity.
    Any readers who like your poems,
    doubt their judgment.

    ii.
    Breathe with unconditional breath
    the unconditioned air.
    Shun electric wire.
    Communicate slowly.
    Live a three-dimensional life;
    stay away from screens.
    Stay away from anything that obscures the place it is in.
    There are no unsacred places;
    there are only sacred places and desecrated places.

    iii.
    Accept what comes from silence.
    Make the best you can of it.
    Of the little words that come out of the silence,
    like prayers prayed back to the one who prays,
    make a poem that does not disturb the silence from which it came.

    While listening to the poem I was struck by how perfectly it translated to photography, and likely to many other arts. I am finding it profoundly inspiring and wanted to share it with you all.

    Dan
     
  2. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    Thanks for sharing this, Dan.
     
  3. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I enjoy reading that. Thanks!

    Jeff
     
  4. Ian David

    Ian David Subscriber

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    Thanks Dan, I like it. A very APUG sort of poem.

    Ian
     
  5. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Yeah, I read it and I would say that it could be the epitomy of what is needed to be any sort of artist.

    The inspiration comes from the quiet places. We all need to have the patience and peace to hear it, the courage to follow it and the skill to take advantage of it, to both use and be used by it.
     
  6. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Wendell Berry is a wonderful man; I am extremely fortunate to have met him a few times. He is very wise. And because of his interest in the culture of place and its new relevance to the (new) local foods movement, his work is finally enjoying the prominence it deserves.

    Thanks for posting the 'how-to' poem.
     
  7. Gim

    Gim Subscriber

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    Copy this poem and carry it. If you get a chance to get to the "Grand Portal" in the near future...stop, rest and read it again on the "beach".

    Best,
    Jim
     
  8. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Brilliant.
    I think a whole University course could be based on these few lines.
    (not so much of a stretch... I once taught three weeks on the 23 or so words of Sarah Norcliffe Cleghorn's The Golf Links :rolleyes: That was the same year I labeled the door, window, walls, ceiling and floor of my classroom and made my juniors write papers on the metaphorical significance of each. I was a brutal lit teacher)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 13, 2010
  9. phaedrus

    phaedrus Member

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    That talks to me as well, but one can't miss the irony of line six and seven of the second stanza being posted to an internet forum. Obviously, we're all not there yet.
     
  10. Bateleur

    Bateleur Member

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    Indeed :wink: However it is an inspiring poem. Much food for thought.
     
  11. floradeborah

    floradeborah Member

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    loved this. thanks for sharing :smile:
     
  12. 36cm2

    36cm2 Member

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    Posted wirelessly..

    Toffle, it was kind of you to label the door to your classroom. If I were in that class, I have a feeling I would have been looking for it immediately after receiving that assignment. :wink:
     
  13. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    I accept the compliment... :D

    The window, on the other hand (labeled appropriately, "window") offered only the illusion of freedom. It looked out on a brick wall, but with some effort, the students could view something of the world not apparent in a front-on perspective. (They had to write papers on that, too :tongue: ) They also had to re-write Macbeth as a Beothuk tribal legend. I suspect I am solely responsible for the despair of hundreds of impressionable teenagers.
     
  14. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    Great advice. I have never heard of Wendell Berry, and I can't stand NPR, but I sure will look him up. Thanks so much for bringing this to our attention.
     
  15. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    I had never heard of Wendell Berry either until this program.

    But unlike you, I thoroughly enjoy listening to NPR. I have learned so very many things in so many different subjects that it has significantly broadened my horizons. It seems that daily I tell my girlfriend about something I heard on NPR that day. To each his own.
     
  16. rorye

    rorye Subscriber

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