Posts Tagged ‘art’

Overcoming Fears


Shoppers from the Hip, Milan, Italy © Jim Korpi

A man walked into the therapy office of Viktor Frankl and his associate. For years he had writer’s cramp and was about to lose his job because of it. When this writer wrote he focused on perfect penmanship, the most elegant handwritten script. The therapists suggested the next time he wrote to scribble his words so they were nearly illegible. He was told to say to himself, “Now I will show people what a good scribbler I am.” When he sat down to write in a scribbled script he couldn’t. Within 48 hours his writing cramp was gone.

It was a writer’s cramp, only with photographs, a photographer’s cramp lasting weeks.

My delay before going out to make photographs for a project has been a period of neurotic anxiety, what Viktor Frankl might call a time of “hyper-reflection” where fears become inner realities. If I reflect too long I begin to question my intentions, my adequacy, as well as the meaning of life. “Am I a fake? Do I deserve to even own a camera? Can I make a photograph? Why are we here?” I freeze. Sometimes for weeks.

Normally I drive places to make photographs. In a foreign country it’s easy to make excuses of why I should not stop the car. There is not a good place to pull over, the person won’t understand my broken attempt of the language, they will think I am out to abduct their children. I drive without making an image.

My solution for this recent cramp was simple, a bicycle. In the morning haze I strapped my tripod to the back fender, put one camera bag on the back rack and one in the front basket. The cramp is gone.

expectations on man

Movement of Grass, Eastern Shores, Virginia © Jim Korpi

If I were a carpenter,
With calloused hands
And all to be expected of a man,
Would you still love me?

My grave and allotted soil
Will know only what I provide.
It asks not what I was, or what I am
But only for me to stay.

Am I not like the tree?
Whose limbs lose the burden
Of yesterday’s season, rest,
And birth new form.

The me who has been
Will no longer be.
Freed from the worldly,
I return. Reborn.
Naked, I hold no instruments
Of art nor the tyranny of trade.

I ask only for the breast
To feed me
And the warm comforting calm.

starve the beast

Machine Breaks, Work Stops, New Hampshire © Jim Korpi

“My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” -Grover Norquist

A friend teaches 600 children art. One teacher, 600 children. Art. Her job will be cut at the end of the school year.
The November elections brought forward a tax levy to continue funding music, art and physical education classes in a well-to-do area outside of Columbus, Ohio. The levy was denied by voters.

“Here’s how the argument runs: to starve the beast, you must not only deny funds to the government; you must make voters hate the government. There’s a danger that working-class families might see government as their friend: because their incomes are low, they don’t pay much in taxes, while they benefit from public spending. So in starving the beast, you must take care not to cut taxes on these ‘lucky duckies.’ (Yes, that’s what The Wall Street Journal called them in a famous editorial.) In fact, if possible, you must raise taxes on working-class Americans in order, as The Journal said, to get their ‘blood boiling with tax rage.'”
—Paul Krugman, “The Tax-Cut Con,” The New York Times, September 14, 2003

could have, should have

Mom & Siblings, Grammy’s Funeral © Jim Korpi

Should I be living my life this way?
We have lost ourselves in the coulds and shoulds.
Asking distracts from what is, and we become irritable with the present.
This moment is a culmination of what has happened at the intersection of what will.
Should I be an artist?
Art, in its purity, is not something one should or should not do. It is creation coming from everything that is presently you. Everything else is immitation or failed attempts.