I Don’t Suffer for my Art

In my late teens and early 20s my joy was wandering New York streets with a camera or two and snapping photos of people on the street. One day I found myself concentrating on photographing people’s hard times, and I quickly stopped myself. In a crowded dirty city like New York, suffering was all around us and I felt that it was too easy to make sad photographs that would move people. I said to myself that suffering wasn’t all of my reality. There is also joy and excitement in my life and I should express that in my photographs.

Many years later those thoughts still motivate me. I want my images to uplift you, make you happy and bring you peace.

These memories come up today because I’m seeing so much of contemporary “Art” photography not only focusing on people’s suffering, but being self portraits of the individual photographer’s suffering. I’m not immune to suffering. I tried to kill myself at three by running in front of a car. Suffering among us is very real, but I think that glorifying one’s own suffering is a selfish act of self indulgence that at best makes me laugh, but really makes me sad.

There’s so much real suffering in the world, in Gaza, in Africa, in Ukraine and even in the richest country in the world, my United States. Lets get some perspective here!

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~ by danbaumbach on August 24, 2014.

4 Responses to “I Don’t Suffer for my Art”

  1. One of my Dharma teachers, Tarchin Hearn, wrote a book called “Something Beautiful for the World.” Your post, and your exquisite photos, made me think of it this morning. Thank you for making so many beautiful ‘somethings’ for our world Dan.

  2. I’ve never understood the concept of .suffering for one’s art. I’m fulfilled by art in general and by creating my own art. I always love seeing yours Dan. I still go back and watch that video you and your wife made a year or so ago that you posted on LPG. I just love it!

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