I recently gave a gift of my photography to someone that I admire greatly. There was a time in the past when I never shared my photos with anyone and even now I share very little of it with anyone who is not a friend. I can count those who I have given gifts of it on one hand.
When I was younger, I experienced most of my life behind the lens of a camera. They attempt to “force” you to be social while at school and I have never been that comfortable in social situations. I’m not good at small talk, I don’t like being the center of attention in any situation and I’m not overly thrilled with surprises as I don’t do well with being put on the spot. I can do fairly well if I get the people around me drunk. I’m way too much of a control freak to do that myself but people find me much more witty if they are intoxicated. However, I discovered that you can pretend that you are being social by showing up to things with a camera while never having to directly interact with the situation. A camera is like a shield, you are there as an observer and not a participant.
When I left the church and religion at 19 and took an interest in paganism, my photography changed as well. It became an extension of my love of nature. You start to notice the subtle changes in colour and shapes inherent in nature. Taking pictures at that point became an extension of spirituality. I suppose that to some degree, even though I have become an atheist it still is. I still have that reverence for nature and the beauty and complexity of life that surrounds me. Now though, it comes from a much different and more rational viewpoint than it did before. But it still maintains its place as my needed creative outlet and maintains a rather personal place in my life.
My photography is how I see the world. Every snapshot is a moment in time and in space from my unique perspective. A photo remembers all the little things, long after you have forgotten everything.
I remember loving astronomy when I was younger. I’m not entirely sure when that disappeared but sometime later in high school. There was a night that I remember distinctly, standing on the sidewalk across from our house with my camera and telephoto lens on the tripod. I was taking pictures of Earthshine (when light bounces off the atmosphere and lights up the dark side of the moon) and when anyone walked by I would tell them what it was and let them all look through the camera lens.
My interest in it didn’t start to return until the time The God Delusion came out. I’ll talk more about my journey to atheism in another post but I do live in a fairly “religious” small city. I put that in quotes because although people claim a lot of religion, most of them are hardly biblical scholars. I remember looking at that book for a couple of weeks before I bought it. When I finally did, I snuck that book home in its little brown paper bag like I was smuggling porn. 🙂
Richard Dawkins got me thinking about a lot of things with that book. It started me down the path of rediscovering my love of science. Since then I’ve moved on to reading everything I can get my hands on and running several science sites on Wakelet to try and increase people’s interest to delve deeper into science. It will be no secret to anyone who knows me that two of my favourite humans are Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss (especially if you take a look at my Twitter feed).
Which brings me to the title of this post. It’s a favourite expression of Neil deGrasse Tyson, to talk about your cosmic perspective and how we fit into the universe. Naturally, my favourite quotes about this come from Prof. Krauss with his cheerful pessimism. Anyone that hears him talk about the end of the universe knows what I’m talking about.
I’m going to leave it here for now and end with the person of whom I speak.
This is the post excerpt.
As you can see…I’ve decided to add a new blog to my growing online pile of “things I try to keep updated”. 🙂 I will keep using my Blogger account for more personal things but this one is going to be (hopefully) a wider exploration of things that interest me. Life is an ongoing experiment. Maybe you’ll explore it with me.