Category: Personal

Christmas

(Featured image: A blizzard over NYC, 2016.)

I wrote a post the other day about my issues with Christmas. Basically my parents gave me magical Christmases and without them I’m finding it hard to see the season as the “most wonderful time of the year.” It’s just Monday to me. It was a bit of a depressing post as you can imagine. I kind of wrote myself into a corner and didn’t know how to come back and end on a happy note. But it certainly got me thinking about Christmas and I think I’ve figured it out.

What I want for Christmas is time to scan old family photographs. That’s it. I just want to sit down and scan. I’ve got a lot to get through and 2018 is my year of decluttering. What better way to start? I know binning family photos may seem odd but the Minimalists have taught me “Our memories are within us, not within our things”. I’ll have all the photos with me every day on my phone which is more than I can say for now. Most of all I’ll have time to actually catch up with the ones I love(d). I miss my parents a hell of a lot. This way I get to spend some lost time with them.

I hope you all have a nice Christmas. Remember that it’s whatever you damn well want it to be. Just be excellent to one and other. If you need some mental health tips there’s a great post on the blog We All Mad Here about dealing with Christmas.

Groundhog Day

Today is Groundhog Day and I just watched it as part of a 24hr run at Liverpool’s Small Cinema. I haven’t seen it in years.

The film is different to how I remember. I remember the comedy death scenes. The cute groundhog. Bill Murray trying to score with Andie McDowell in various funny ways. It’s a romantic comedy with some time looping on the side. It’s classic Bill Murray. That’s what I remember anyway. The film I saw today wasn’t the film I remember watching. I guess that’s time for you. It changes you so when you relive the same day many years later you’re a different person.

The film opens with weatherman Bill Murray. He’s good at acting on TV but I think it’s clear that he’s got issues before the time loop of Groundhog Day drives him nuts. He thinks he should be further along in his career than he actually is. It’s made him bitter, sarcastic, mean and a dick. To add insult to injury every year for the past 3, sorry 4 years he is sent to Small Town USA where they believe a groundhog is able to predict how long winter will last. Woo yay psychic fracking groundhogs. Job done they leave but the weather is so bad they turn back and spend the night in Small Town USA. He sleeps and wakes and it’s Groundhog Day over and over again. Sound familiar? It’s the plot of an episode of Xena, Stargate SG1 or Star Trek TNG. Take your pick. What differs from Groundhog Day the film and those other shows is that Groundhog Day is a film about a man clearly in denial about suffering from depression who is then beaten down by life over and over and over. Every day is agony. Every day he hates people, fails at being a person and fails at life. He snaps and drives off a cliff taking the groundhog with him. He dies. He wakes. It’s Groundhog Day. Eventually he is freed and is a better person for his suffering.

His suffering. Someone worked out that he probably spent 33 years trapped in the time loop bubble. 33. He spent 33 years trying to deal with his world. He was roughly 42 when he went in. So he was 75 when he came out. For us normal people who are travelling through time at the normally suggested rate of 1 second per second that means we may be happy in our 70s. We may get over depression, or at least have worked out how to deal with it by then. Um… Yay? I do not want to be 75 when I’ve got this life thing figured out. I want to be 38. I’m 37.5 now.

I didn’t find this film very funny when I re-watched it. If I wanted to show someone what it’s like to be seriously depressed I would say watch this film. It’s not a comedy. He’s trapped. He can’t tell anyone what’s really going on because they’ll see him differently. People won’t care anyway. It won’t do any good. It’s all in his head right? Days, weeks, months and years go by being beaten by this world and like anyone with severe depression the only logical cause of action is to kill yourself. It makes perfect sense at the time. If you were in Bill Murrary’s shoes you would also come to that same conclusion. No-one cares. No-one will understand. There is no hope. Tomorrow is the same as today. I can’t take life anymore. I quit.

It’s all ok though because it’s a comedy movie. It’s a Bill Murray comedy movie. That funny man from Ghostbusters? Yeah it’s him. He’s funny. Haha look at the little groundhog. I sat in a cinema filled with people all laughing at Bill and groundhog Phil. People will have thought about the fun they could have if they were in that movie. They will have sat at home with a beer thinking about the comedy hijinks they would have got up to. But some people will have had tears in their eyes at the desperation and beaten Bill Murray. For some people the film will have been all too familiar and too much to bear. For some people every day is a loop of despair. Some people just want out because the idea of spending 40 years developing the skills to deal with it is just too damn much.

There are no life lessons that I can pass on from watching this film. There’s no list of 13 creative activities Bill Murray used to fight depression in Groundhog Day. This is just me seeing a film in a new light thanks to the passage of time. There are many people living their own personal hell of Groundhog Day and like the film shows there’s no quick way out. Even suicide is no way out. When you realise the horror of just how long he’s been trapped it casts a different light on the film and you go “Oh.” For some people that’s just every day life. Depression traps you. It keeps you trapped in your own little world away from friends, away from the future you want, away from life. All you can do is try and beat it one day at a time. Am I right or am I right? Right? Right? Right? Right? Right? Right?

If you need help please take a look at CALM or Mind.

Acceptance

I was thinking about acceptance the other day after reading an article by Claire Eastham. Imagine if you could accept who you are, draw strength from your abilities and really make something great? Wouldn’t that be good? Instead we dislike who we are. But then that’s the road you take to better yourself I guess. If you see yourself as rubbish then you’ll work hard to fix that. So in the end we’re constantly unhappy and unaware that we’re actually doing the great things.

Right now I’m feeling unhappy and aware that I’m not doing great things. So. Yay. January eh.

You should read the post by Claire for tips on anxiety and such.

Written in Cuthbert’s bake house enjoying cake and dandelion and burdock after a long day stuck at the computer.

Christmas Prints

It’s Christmas soon and it’ll be Christmas again next year so you’re either just in time to get a print now or be super prepared for 2016. Either way I’ve got a print sale on. I’ve made two galleries just with Christmas ideas for you to browse as I’ve got a lot of photos. For the local crowd there’s a Liverpool themed gallery and there’s also a travel themed gallery with Iceland, Amsterdam and other places in.

Using the code: XMAS2017 you can save 10% off prints on my store till Jan 6th. So if you get cash for Christmas you can use it on prints.Read More

I have a vlog now. vlogging is cool.

It’s possibly a bit odd to be talking about doing a daily vlog on my not so daily blog. But I wanted to write something about it because this site isn’t going away. I’m not switching from blogging to vlogging. I’m going to, stupidly, do both. I’ll put stuff here when I want / can and my vlog is going to be daily.

So why do a daily vlog? Well 14 years ago I started blogging because I was fascinated by the medium. Here I am 14 years later still doing it. This blog has been running since 2004 so thats 11 years running a photoblog type site. I like having a space to put thoughts. I know its pretty egotistical in a way. I mean who really cares what I have to say?

There’s an inherint risk in producing something like this. Stats. If I publish video and only get 10 views I’ll feel like no-one cares what I’m doing. I’ll feel like I’m failing. It’s stupid but my depressed little monkey brain thinks that way. So what I’m trying to do with the vlog is not care if anyone watches. I’m producing video for me.

I bought a Nikon D90 about 6 years ago. It was the first video DSLR and I was excited to produce video. I wanted to get into it but realistically what happened was that I had no stories to tell. So I’m vlogging to practice making videos. It’s not going to be the best video in the world ever and thats half the point. It’s a vlog. Its rough and ready. It’s about me relaxing about my insane perfectionism and just getting something made every day. Hopefully all this will teach me something.

I want to do it daily so it becomes routine. Weekly makes it easy to fob off. It’s like the Apple Watch. I charge that daily. It’s routine. My Pebble watch I charged when it died which meant some days I would be out and it would die mid-day. I wasn’t in the habbit of charging it. So I want to vlog each day. It’s day 2 and I’m already thinking “YIKES!” but also “This is kinda cool.”

There’s so much cool technology around these days. I’m a geek and I love gadgets but in recent months I’ve sort of become complaicent about my photography gear. Thats good in some ways because if I’m less focused on gear and more focused on producing work then I’ll hopefully make better work. But on the flipside I’m possibly letting all these new things slip by me. I heard recently that by 2017 video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic. 69%! That’s insane but kind of understandable given 4k video sizes. I’ve been a bit lazy with video really by sticking to my guns that I’m a photographer first and foremost. But really I just tell stories via visual media whether its in one frame or 24 a second. I’m dong ok at the one frame thing so I need to play with telling stories at 24 frames per second, at movie making. So thats why I’m vlogging.

Here’s vlog 001. Inspired by Casey Neistat as any fan of his will be able to tell. I’m not going to apologise for that as I just want to get stuck in and I’ll figure out my own stuff as we go. Hopefully…

Not being good enough

I sat down last night with full intention of posting my best Iceland photos. Ive got about 22 that are sorted into a group for posting. They’re good solid photos. They tick all the right boxes. Beautiful light. Epic landscapes. A land of fire (which we didn’t see) and ice (which we did). They filmed Interstellar there and also Game of Thrones. The light is magical. You know what you’re getting when you see a link for Iceland photos. Maybe that’s why I turned the laptop off and played Mass Effect 3 instead then.Read More