I returned to Greece last Friday and after a long and uneventful journey I found myself at the “Eleftherios Venizelos” airport, the gateway to Greece. It was quiet at 16:40 hours on a Saturday. Aside from my Aegean Air flight, there was only one other craft that seemed to be in use, a KLM A320 parked at the terminal. This speaks to both the slower winter season and the decision for other airline companies to curtail their schedules into this country, a nation hit hard by both the global economic crisis and a media-fed-fear of governmental instability. While the economics are true, the other claim holds no water. This is a land of change and transition and so many people are preferring to sit on the sidelines and watch the drama unfold.
It was raining and the skies were lead-grey. I hailed a taxi and as we headed towards the city I was struck by how green everything had become since my departure in December. The traditional music coming out of the small radio made my heart melt and run like the rain. As we sped along the motorway, the driver handed me an orange. “From my garden–this morning”, he said.
Change is a difficult stage of life for any organism, whether it is a country or an individual. The best course of action is to change the dynamic. When an old path isn’t working, one does not stay on the same road and travel with more verve. One takes a turn at the next crossing, thus expanding the journey. If one has a philosophy that is dear, it is important to keep this philosophy as a compass and at the same time open up prospects for new and exciting ways to implement the fundamentals. 12 years ago I grew weary of the career in which I had been laboring. Instead of finding a new niche within that limited community I shifted gears and turned off the main road and connected with a new highway. Now I am in Greece, practicing my skills and craft in photography. The remnants of the old ways are gone, leaving only memories and an ability to create this marvelous dish. I can only offer advice based on my own experiences. When something isn’t working, get out of the way and take a new road. After all, change is the only true constant in the Universe. Photography is the same. There are so many variables within the craft, especially with the added tools of the digital medium. It would be foolish and arrogant to discount them in an attempt to hold onto some mythological idea.
Speaking of that, I had a change of heart recently regarding the noted photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. When he said, “In order to give meaning to the world, one has to feel oneself involved in what he frames. This attitude requires concentration, a discipline of mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry” I have to applaud. I agree wholeheartedly but it was disappointing to watch the documentary, ‘The Impassioned Eye’ . This film revealed that he cared little for, and avoided at all costs, the developing of his film and printing of his images, a part of the journey that I feel is so important to the photographic life. I believe that he was little more than a guy with a camera in the right place at the right time. A small bubble has burst, but a bubble nonetheless. Now I am a little more free than I was. Change is good and necessary. Change is essential.