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Farm Landscape, Mappen, Il. by Richard Keeling on 500px.com

I haven’t written anything here for a long time.

Three months.

Well, that’s OK – not many read this (but if you are one of those, I shall tell you right now how much I appreciate it). Plus sometimes I really don’t have anything to say. Or, at least, anything to say here. Other records, such as my expanding collection of written notebooks, step in instead.

I should make a point of that. Over the past months I’ve rediscovered the pleasure of writing. As with a pen and paper. Writing without any intent to broadcast my thoughts.

This has been liberating. Even though I regard myself as a lesser addict, I am nonetheless addicted to social media. I have placed limits. I do not own and do not plan to own a smartphone. I deliberately place myself in situations where I cannot use this computer for social interaction. I have renewed my embrace of solitude.

The result has been interesting. I find myself feeling less competitive, less caught up in desire or envy. Concurrent with this is a lessening of anxiety.

Of course, being retired helps enormously. My time is my own and I am making good use of it.

Next month I have an exhibition at Washington University. Fifteen of my photographs – although not the one you see here. No, these are rather more what I might call exhibition friendly, a little closer to what you might see in a gallery. They will up for three months; a good length of time and hopefully will be seen by a lot of people.

Is is the culmination of my photographic endeavors, at least the social ones? Possibly. This may be the high water mark and if it is, that’s fine. It’s not going to change my outlook or why I photograph. If anything, I might retreat. I’m certainly pulling back from local photography competitions, for all photo competitions ultimately seem to boil down to being a money making enterprise for those behind them. A bit like gambling; the house always wins. And, to be honest, I really don’t like the sort of photographs that win photography exhibitions even though I’ve made some myself. Hard to describe why, except maybe they tend to fall into a certain preconceived notion of a ‘wow’ factor photograph and these are so clichéd as to be pretty much unbearable. Give me an ordinary snapshot that has real meaning for someone anytime over these.

The triumph of the ordinary. That’s really what I want see. The photograph here is exactly what I mean by that.  A simple landscape on a cloudy uneventful day.  Nothing demonstrative. A small moment in an uneventful day; this, to me, speaks more vibrantly about real life than anything extraordinary. We spend so much time chasing high drama – why not simply realise the drama in our daily existence? I think we would be much more content if we did. I certainly find I am.

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