am i stalling?
Went undertime today to attend a forum entitled
Resistance: the struggle for representation. Who portays whom?
with Shahidul Alam, PhD
Scientist, Photographer, Social Activist
The talk mainly focused on how images shape perspectives and opinions of the world we live in. Dr. Alam shared how images are used and sometimes manipulated by the hegemons of society to paint a picture that only serves their particular interests. He showed examples of his work in Bangladesh, where he is based, and other photographers' work around the world and the underlying forces for the publication of these. It got the audience, which composed mostly of photojournalists, students and photography hobbyists to question their approach to viewing, taking and publishing photographs. Who is represented and for what purpose? It was a stimulating discussion and I'm glad I attended it. I want to steepen my learning curve, as you know.
Seeking intellectual stimulation didn't end there for the night. Met with Toni for coffee. Talking to her is such a joy. Although there are differences with the way we think, we understand each other in so many levels it's so comforting.
Although prior to that, the ex, who picked up a book I borowed for him from the rizal lib, was talking about how I should not be climbing too many ladders at the same time and just stick to one, Toni (I love her) said that there is nothing wrong with lateral growth. It is a valid aspiration. I totally agree, at least at this stage. I'm still checking out lots of ladders for me to want to climb. I sometimes fear that I'm being jack of all trades master of none but as I said, I'm not rushing myself. It's all good.
That does not mean I should condone my own stalling. Maybe I should fill out the scholarship form for the konrad adenauer asian center for journalism diploma in photojournalism. It's kinda scary to launch into this. It might seal my life forever into this field. But if I don't do this, I'll stagnate. I'll die (metaphorically). It's like this: my fear of failing paralyzes me from doing something with my life, making me really, without a doubt, mediocre in the process. As toni pointed out, sometimes it's beter to fail than be mediocre because failing would mean having put so much effort into something but the stars or society, or whatever circumstance is just not with you at the moment. The real failure is not doing anything. True failure is being okay to not doing anything. I don't think I want that.
So, while laterally trying to grow, I will try to find my ladder, I guess.
I fold out now a piece of paper I've been keeping in my wallet since graduation. It's a handwritten essay on a notebook page I stole from one of the AtSCA ed files. Someone in the org who graduated four years ahead of me tucked it in one of the files. It reads:
"The great thing about life is that as long as we live, we have the privilege of growing. We can learn new skills, engage in new kinds of work, devote ourselves to new causes, make new friends, if only we will exercise a little initiative and refuse to become fixed, rigid...before our time.
Let us then learn how to accept ourselves--accept the truth taht we are capable in some direction and limited in others, that genius is rare, that mediocrity is the portion of almost all of us, but that all of us can contribute from the storehouse of our skills to the enrichment of our common life...
Let us accept our emotional frailties,knowing that every person has some phobia lurking within his mind and that the normal person is willing to accept life with its limitations and its opportunities joyfully and courageously.
Not only must we accept ourselves but we must aslo change ourselves. Until the day of our death we can change, we can tap hidden resources in our make-up. We can dsiscipline ourselves to turn from morbid circle of useless self-pity or enslavement to childish frustrations and begin to give of our energy to other people, to a cause, a movement, a great social enterprise. In such service we can find freedom from ourselves and liberty from our fears." -- Joshua Liebman