living

The World v. The World

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Humans are so weird.

Sometimes I wonder why I think about the concept so much. We are bizarre creatures. We idolize ourselves far too much, yet we are so self-conscious. Ask any random person on the street if they love others more than themselves, and I guarantee they will answer “yes.” Yet, why do we lead our lives so selfishly? Working to sustain ourselves, working to put ourselves ahead of others in aspects that truly are not important.

I speak in generalities. I believe in a fine balance. Meaning, as many spiteful, selfish, cowardly people humans as there are on this globe, there are equally as many selfless, courageous beings. As many lazy, indifferent people as their are, there are equally as many people aching to feel alive with every ounce of their being. I don’t think there’s even an explanation for it, I think we just react to and within one another in such a particular way, that we end up forming almost a mirror within ourselves.

I suppose what it comes down to (at least for me) is perspective. Not ignorance, no. We as a society must recognize both sides of humans, for without the other half, they are each nothing. It is the perspective that sets us apart from others, and we must constantly remind ourselves that no one will ever see your perspective as you do, as you will never see theirs.

Or does it even matter? What does life in itself come down to, anyways? Does it come down to your final moments? I envision it does. Your last few breaths of sure certainty that this is the end, and facing yourself with that omnipresent question: how was it? And knowing full-well which answer you’ll choose, and whether or not you’ll be happy with it. What if you are? What if you aren’t?

Everyone will be different.

And that is the simple and beautiful truth about humans, and understanding the fact that they will never be understood.

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4 Things to Make You Feel Alive

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I’m not a perfect person. I, too, am sitting on the computer today, preaching to the internet about how to not do what I’m doing. My favorite thing to tell people lately is that if you don’t like something, change it. So, if you’re having a bad day, bad week, or want to try something different with your life, here’s a couple tips to help you dive in:

Reading a book at the beach

Read

1.) Though perhaps not the most adrenaline-pumping activity one can enact in, reading is a good place to start. Read whatever: something to make you laugh, research a religion, a fictional novel, whatever it may be. Allow yourself to see things from someone else’s perspective. ‘

Spyglass on a Map

Explore

2.) As my favorite Pixar movie states: “Adventure is out there!” It’s never a bad day to see and learn something new. Go somewhere once a week you’ve never gone before: a new trail, a museum, that old library, or even a new country. The world truly is enormous, with different cultures and climates. I don’t think I know of a single person who has been bitten by the travel bug who is satisfied only with the places they’ve gone. Go somewhere new, and you never know, you might just fall in love with it.

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Go out of your comfort zone

3.) Name three things, right now, that you are afraid of doing. Why are you afraid of doing them? Do you really, truly want to be laying on your death bed thinking about all the things you never did? I sure as hell don’t. I truly hate to be a cliche but the only thing stopping you from doing things is you. Get out there!

burn-500-calories-a-day

Exercise

4.) Sometimes the best motivator is going out for a jog, or a hike, or a bike ride. It kind of gives you an “unstoppable” feeling (or, if you’re like me, you need to work up to it because you feel like you also might die).

 

So go on, add some things of your own as well. There are certainly more than four ways to feel alive in this world, and who’s to say you can’t start doing them all today?

Sometimes, it’s best to just jump in and burn your tongue

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I sat down at the small table, caressing my coffee cup as if it were hooked up to an IV that was saving my own life. My best friend sat opposite me, doing the same. It was a deceitfully beautiful day outside, with bright blue skies and a glaring sun. Yet, it was so frigidly cold that those who favor outdoor winter sports were sporting their snowboarding and skiing jackets simply to go about their day.

“So,” I said, after successfully burning my tongue out of my eagerness for my daily cup of heaven, “when are we going on that road trip? I’ve already started looking around, and there are a few national parks we can choose from. We definitely want to do a lot of hiking and camping, and maybe some rock climbing thrown in. I want fabulous pictures from wherever we go. It’s a priority. So what do you think?”

She shifted in her seat, her eyelids heavy with laziness. “Look, I don’t know dude. I know I said that I’d go, but I’m really not up for hiking.”

“Well how do you know how you’ll feel when we leave? I’m not asking you to hike today,” I said, knowing full well that she was throwing her adventurous drive into reverse and once again, backing out on our plans.

“I don’t know, I just wish I could be adventurous.”

I put my coffee down on the fake wooden table. I sat there for a minute, absorbing the words she had just spoken.

“You wish you could be adventurous.”

“Yeah.”

“Why can’t you?”

“Well I don’t have time to do that stuff, or gear, and I don’t know if I could do it.”

My blood began to boil slightly. Maybe it was the Italian side of me, I don’t know.

“You can do whatever the fuck you want. You realize that, right? All those people who have hiked mountains or completed marathons, or scaled rocks or beat their personal time for cycling, they are doing what they want. And you will never hear them complain for even a second. You are the only person stopping yourself from doing what you want and from being adventurous. Everybody has lazy days, sure. But you’re part of this vast society of constantly lazy, complaining wishers. That’s almost as bad as saying “I wish I read books.” Here’s a concept: walk to the library or the book store and pick up a book and read it. Instead of tweeting about it or sitting here complaining to me how you wish you were more of something else, why don’t you just go and do it.”

She sat there, kind of just nodding absently.

“So what are you going to do about it?”

“About what?”

“About being more adventurous.”

“What do you mean?”

I nodded for a second. She hadn’t listened to a single word I’d said.

“Some people really can’t be saved, dude. Have a good day.”

I got up and walked out, opening the door into the glaring sun and the frigid winds. I think I’d rather deal with the harsh elements of adventure than the harsh elements of our society, anyways.

Adventurers

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I read a quote once that said that the most interesting people are not the ones who talk about other people, but the ones who talk about ideas.

I like to think of myself mostly as the latter, but for this post I will be the former.

Being an adventure-lover, it’s always interesting to see other adventurers. You know. People who hike, climb, bike, surf, pour their milk into their cereal bowl before their cereal; the crazy people.

Today I’d like to bring up 2manventure, two young adventurers from out of Colorado. Both Zach and Pierce contribute frequently to their blog, which I personally think is really cool, because it means they always have an adventure to update the world on. What really sucked me into their blog was their photos; these aren’t iPhone photos with a grainy filter. These photos actually require a decent amount of camera knowledge and fairly decent camera equipment. It’s really refreshing to see, in a world of Instragramers.

Check out their Flickr photostreams:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/zachd1_618/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pierce-martin/

Keep on adventuring!

Categories

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There are an infinite amount of photographer “types” kicking around today. Portrait, landscape, event, sport, event, tabloid, nature, animal, wedding, travel; the list goes on.  All of these categories are forms of art in their own way, each using lighting and framing to capture their own beauty and their own perspective.

The specific category of photography I want to focus on today is that of adventure photography. This category appeals to me because of the way that I see life: it should be lived wisely and deliberately. We don’t want to make it to ninety years old and have no scars, no memories and no life lived. That’s not living the correct way.

There should be at least a few times in every person’s life where they think, “This is crazy. And I’m going to do it.” Fear of living on the edge is a very real thing, but almost nothing is as sweet as the feeling of conquering that fear.

That’s why photographing people conquering this fear is such a beautiful thing to me: using a camera to connect the world to a person who is ultimately invincible. At that point, it all becomes very simple to them; at that point, stupid little things like checking their Facebook and Instragram-ing their dog and car payments and all the little trivial things in life are the most dismal, minute concepts in the world.

To them, right then, they’re living.

They put life in perspective right then, and realize what really matters. Wouldn’t you want to?

Capturing beauty, among other things

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We, as humans, are flawed beings; in some instances, very flawed. We’ve all been immoral or have made an immoral decision at least once in our lives, maliciously or otherwise. But why? To benefit ourselves? To inconvenience others? Simply because we’re horrible people?

Alright. Think of this: you’re a photographer. A good one. I’m not talking sixteen-year-old girl with an iPhone and a set of horrible filters, I’m talking a professional, dedicated artist with a passion for seeing life through a lens. Now, I’ve talked to other photographers/videographers about this so I know that I’m not the only one: I start seeing everyday life as if it were a photo. I literally look at people an envision them in my camera frame, pick focal points, imagining apertures and picturing how movement would look with an open shutter. I don’t even deliberately do it; it’s subconscious. In a lot of ways I’m thankful for this in that I see minute things as being beautiful.

But here is the issue: imagine you saw life the way I do. You couldn’t help it. You travel to Sudan to photograph nature and whatever else life decides to present to you. Okay, now imagine this: you see a very small, malnourished African child starving on the ground. Only a few feet behind this girl is a vulture, fixated on her.

Right now, I can tell you that everyone else on the internet world is saying they would put down their camera and help the little girl. However, you can’t forget: we are flawed beings who make immoral choices, maliciously or otherwise. This is the issue of famed photojournalist Kevin Carter, who took this iconic photograph:

Kevin Carter's Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph

He later won a Pulitzer prize for his work. Shortly after that, he committed suicide.

Photos such as this one have sparked outrage and controversy on an extremely large scale. Why didn’t the photographer help? How could they simply stand off to the side while the subject held on for its own life?

Kevin Carter is not alone: photographs from maybe world events have produced the same reaction (Holocaust, September 11th, genocides, riots, depressions) and with great reason.

As immoral people, we cause issues of our own: wars, murder, isolation, and the list goes on.  These photographers see what they do as capturing life, and realize that life isn’t all beauty.

 

(Photograph from Kevin Carter)

But why photography?

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Have you ever seen a photo so brilliant and so moving, you have to stare? Like a piece of art mounted on a gallery wall. Even if you don’t know a single thing about photography or art or composition, you find yourself lost in it, find yourself making a connection in such a real way.

I’m a wedding and portrait photographer. My goal is to tell a story, to connect the people in the photograph with the rest of the world through a lens.

“There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.”—Ansel Adams, Photographer and Environmentalist

Now imagine seeing a photograph that conveys such intensity and sense of wonder, you can’t help but admire the subject. I’m talking about seeing a picture of someone doing something “crazy,” and thinking to yourself that it will never be you. Well why the hell not?

Photography inspires me. And it inspires me because it leads me to want to inspire others. It’s an art, a passion, a language of its own class.

This blog is about taking adventure and life, and preserving and transferring it into a medium of its own.

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(Taken October 2011 in Orange, MA by Michelle Bourget)