blown thin by the wind
I've been traveling through Japan's most southern island Kyushu last week. With Jonathan, who lives there and helped me, and his incredible microbus. What a journey it turned out to be. Completely different than Tokyo, but in many ways, actually the same. At first it was like I was seeing a completely opposite, different country, a rural Japan versus the metropolis, but I started to realise a powerful connection that surpasses all this and makes sure that they cannot exist without each other: the people.
I saw old and young. I saw ancient homes long abandoned and new homes being built. I saw young people that left to the cities and their parents that stayed behind. I saw grandparents and grandchildren. I heard stories about generations and how they are connected yet separated, each speaking fondly of the other, longing to be united. I saw entire ghost towns deep in the mountains, alongside young families arriving from the city and new houses being built. I saw dedication and perseverance, hope, loneliness and happiness.
I saw a lot of weight to carry, yet also a surprising lightness surrounding it.
And I saw memories, in a harsh mountainous landscape shaped as if it had physically made space to store them. Memories like old homes, new homes, torn down, built up everywhere. Everything alive, connected by a neural network of roads and power lines running from place to place.
But above all, I saw people that understood. That deeply respect and understand their roots, their relationship to the place they live in, the country and culture they live in, the past and future generations they live with and without, and how this makes them to who they are today.
They profoundly understand the weight they carry, and in a world where it seems like we're all uprooted running around in circles, feeling like we're all alone raising our little families in an – at best – seemingly indifferent world around us, I think this kind of understanding just might be important. Not only for us, but for our grandchildren.
I think I'd like to dig deeper into this one.
Some new work. For now, I'll broadly define it as "Summer". More soon.
It started out as testing a new camera, and turned into shooting almost every day now. Slightly unusual for me, but I must confess I like this new approach a lot. And now I’ve been fortunate enough to acquire yet another camera. Who knows where this one will take me :)
Those who know me, know I tend to think things over – or, more accurately, ”overthink" things. Even down to the point that I got stuck making new work at all. For sure this is my Achilles’ Heel. It became so bad that I started trying to control the uncontrollable. I really just needed to relax and let go.
Now, just a few months later, I’m much more in touch with things I should be in touch with… and I must say that it feels refreshing. Much like a necessary step forward. It seems I told myself to – at least temporarily – “worry about all those other things later”.
– insert long happy sigh here –
Knowing that there are in fact many "other things" in a project besides the actual image-making, and that I’m well capable of dealing with “those other things”, has been the deciding factor here.
You can't worry about "the other things" later if you don't know that there actually are other things. Understanding that your project has many facets, and consciously choosing to focus on one of them, is an entirely different thing than setting out to do that one thing as your only goal.
You have to be able to be the director of your own film and the DOP and the producer and the writer (etc etc), and also manage them all – or be able to become each of them at a point, knowing that they are all equally crucial. If it is your film, you cannot choose to "only" be the Director of Photography and hope (or expect) that the entire film will happen somehow – distribution included.
My "worrying later step" – of course – will be actually dealing with “those other things”. For example, by not calling them “those other things” anymore. Then trying to define them and find a balance that makes sense for me in that point in time. And then, ultimately, most probably, accepting that there are too many things in that balance that I cannot control. At all.
But at least I'll end up knowing what the mountain is, right?
Back to work. Talk soon. Have a great summer.
I swear I only read the horoscope after the fact, and entirely by accident. And I still don't believe in those kind of things. But the fact happened nonetheless. Due to some freak coincidence of unrelated events, things hit me and I gained some major insights. Not without some agony of course.
These insights now feel good in a weird way that I now know where I stand; and more importantly, because of that, that I also know what lies ahead of me. A mountain to climb. A sea to swim.
Knowing what lies ahead, however huge it is, is comforting. I'd rather know and have to do something hard, than not know and not be able to do anything. Not knowing is frustrating, debilitating, demoralising. Knowing means I can focus, instead of being helpless throwing punches in the dark. Knowing allows me to either succeed, or to fail with only myself to hold accountable. Yes, I know there are always circumstances that arise, and pure luck plays a big role too. But at least I'll be walking in the right direction.
"Knowing" really is half the battle. And I'm in good spirits now, finally knowing where it's at.