November 3rd, 2010, 11:25 AM
I've been thinking about how much time I spend both taking pictures and developing them. I can spend a great deal of time doing both and become oblivious to everything else. Ask my husband. Truth be told, I enjoy both for their own reasons. I sometimes wonder how I let it all go for so many years. I know why, but that's not what I want to dwell on now.
The other day, I finally got around to reading one of my favorite parts of the Sunday New York Times. Whenever I have an appointment of any kind, I always bring along something to read. Some people hate waiting, sometimes I do, too, but it's also a forced down time that let's me do one of the other things I enjoy the most - reading. So there I was sitting in my doctor's waiting room, thumbing through The Book Review from this past Sunday, October 31st, when I started to read a review of a book by Stephen Sondheim, called "Finishing the Hat". I'm not sure what caught my attention since I'm not particularly a diehard Sondheim fan, though I am certainly well aware of his many hits in musicals over so many years. I didn't realize that it was he who'd worked with Leonard Bernstein on "West Side Story". I think it was the title of the review that really caught my eye - "Isn't it Rich" from his well known song "Send in the Clowns" because, even though I never loved that song, I know the words and the tune...they started up in my head, and the next thing I know I'd started reading... I hadn't even noticed that the reviewer was Paul Simon.
And here is where I am going with all of this - when I got to this part in Paul Simon's review where he'd written
- I did a double take. I sat there and thought - that's it! I'm a dopamine addict! Then I immediately checked to see who the reviewer was - and that's when I saw it was Paul Simon. No wonder he got it. He knows. He's a dopamine addict! It's that feeling. This is what I've always gotten from photography, from being out, most often and preferably alone, taking the pictures, and it's been the same during all those many, many hours in the darkroom. Now I don't smell the chemicals or have to feel guilty about their impact...but I still get that same dopamine high when "it" happens. For me, I think that's it - it is pure enjoyment culminating in creation. That's what makes me happy and when I've spent the time, however short or long, and find it, it doesn't get any better.
The book “Finishing the Hat” becomes a metaphor for that feeling of joy, the little squirt of dopamine hitting the brain when the artist creates a work of art. It’s a feeling so addictive the artist is willing to forgo love in order to experience artistic bliss. It could be a metaphor for Sondheim’s love of songwriting.
P.S. I think Don AKA Streetshooter has really already said all this to me before in not so many words. I can hear his words to me now, "Just go make pictures". I thought I knew what he meant but I'd forgotten "it" for a while.
November 3rd, 2010, 12:36 PM
Wow, this is all very interesting BB. Coincidentally, today my daughter is trying to pen her Statement of Entry piece on why she wants to study art at University. I listened to all that she had written (she read it to me) and a lot of what she was trying to say is just what you are saying too. Anyway, 'nuff said, not wishing to hijack your piece. I will let her read it later
November 3rd, 2010, 02:55 PM
You're not hijacking it! You're adding to it - beautifully, I have to add. I'd suggest having your daughter read the book review article, really. Sondheim is an artist, as is Paul Simon. I believe I have been in the past and sometimes am now. I was concerned that I had misquoted Don in the above...and am only just getting back to the computer now and see, thankfully, that I hadn't. I had thought I'd written "Just take pictures." which of course is quite different from making them.
P.S. Coincidentally, yet again, I had been listening to a radio station here in New York called WNYC, part of National Public Radio, to a show called Soundcheck. Later it should be up as a podcast. You can always listen online. http://www.wnyc.org/shows/soundcheck/2010/nov/03/ The first two parts were about this very "thing". Here's a little background: Not Just Practice, Practice, Practice:
Earlier this week on Soundcheck, blues guitarist Buddy Guy revealed that he seldom practices. However, saying that music comes "naturally" to him -- or other artists -- may be an oversimplification. Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin and musician Victor Wooten join us to discuss music and the brain. Later: Howard Fishman is once, twice, three times a singer-songwriter. He performs selections from his three new albums live in the studio.
The show just ended now @ 3PM here in New York. They also have a blog, which I've just discovered: http://www.wnyc.org/shows/soundcheck...03/music-zone/ Art, music, sports...writing, all have something in common when one feels in the zone.
Inspiration and Perspiration
Does practice really make perfect? Musician and neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, the bestselling author of “This Is Your Brain on Music” and “The World In Six Songs,” joins us with Grammy-winning bassist Victor Wooten, from Bela Fleck’s band, to talk about the dual roles of inspiration and practice in making music.
Last edited by BBW; November 3rd, 2010 at 03:04 PM.
Reason: a long P.S.
November 3rd, 2010, 03:22 PM
Some people get dopamine rushes from exercise; they tend to be the mad exercise nuts.
I don't get a dopamine rush from exercise, sadly, but I do from creative endeavors.
Over on mu-43.com, someone said they took up photography to get more exercise, and a light bulb went off. I need more exercise, why not do the same?
November 4th, 2010, 12:30 AM
BB it's great how you are able to express your passion and love of photography not only in pictures but also in words also. I, for one, have been infected by your enthusiasm and am happier for it
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