Co-worker: "Carlie, so what do you do besides work here?"
(No one at REI just works at REI)
Me: "I write. I'm uh... a writer."
Co-Worker: "Oh, I thought you when to school for photo or something."
Me: "Oh yeah, but... psh! No, I'm not a photographer."
Cue the panic of suddenly realizing that I have unconsciously under minded 5 years of my life and lots of money!
The transition is complete. I have fully switched over from identifying myself as "a photographer" and now view myself as "a writer". Being a student of photography, you optimistically begin to call yourself a fully fledged photographer when truly you have yet to dedicate your life to it beyond the guidance of schooling. Now that I have been a year and more with out the influence of college, I find where my passion lies by watching how I spend my time. Despite my photography degree, I'll admit that is it not spent behind a camera. It is spent over a key board.
It has taken me some time to swallow this pill once and for all, but the honest truth behind it is that it comes with a sense of relief. To know that I am not bound to a path I chose at the wise age of eighteen is relieving. Imagine that. The satisfaction that I have found in the many, many writing projects that I have taken on since my return from the AT has solidified my newly chosen path. On top of these amounting projects, I find that there is a need for pointless expression of personal thoughts. This can only mean one thing.
The return of Love and Legwork.
When I was in high school I wrote poetry. Avidly so. I even helped start a poetry club, which was impressive for a little rebel who adamantly refused to take part in anything extra curricular. As college was placed on the table and the time came to choose a degree, I, being eighteen and knowing everything, knew that there was nothing more that I could be taught about writing. So I chose art. I was also half heartedly part of an art club. My friends and I would smoke weed in the parking lot after school on every other thursday and then return to the art room to doodle, listen to music and laugh about things that weren't funny to anyone else. I liked art a lot and I had a natural inclination for it, but still there was room for improvement, even in the eye of my over inflated ego. I chose to study art.
I chose to study photography for its immediacy. With out anyone even realizing it, you could flash an entire story in front of their eyes for them to read in only a matter of seconds. No consent required. No flashy cover was needed to make them pick up the book and give it a shot. The best part was, I didn't even have to write the entire story. I only had to leave them with enough information for them to speculate answers to all the questions I had left them with. It was like a game and it was all very attractive to me.
In studying photography I learned to view the world in a new way. I learned to see the haunting beauty in a decaying building, the honor in a worn out human. I learned the power of lighting. Of its ability to turn an ordinary man into Dionysius as the morning sun falls across his face to set him ablaze as he waits for the bus. I learned the power of timing. Of waiting patiently for a scene to unfold as so the fog lifts just enough among the pines as to catch the light all the way to the horizon. Most of all I learned to see. In learning to see I leaned to write.
As it happens, I went to art school to become a writer.
Being a writer, I have chosen to carry on this this blog beyond the AT.
Maybe one day it will even turn into "Lessons of the Pacific Crest Trail".