Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Let them eat cake

Family is a wonderful thing. My wife and kids make my world go around. No one else on the planet understands my peculiarities as well as they do. No one else quite gets what makes me predisposed to shooting the craziest vignettes of modern suburban life. No one else quite appreciates the weirdness that is me, and lets me get away with it day after day.

So we've been spending time visiting extended family in Montreal this past week, and one of my not-quite-immediate family members really ticked me off (yes, dear readers, I do get ticked off on occasion. Please don't be shocked) when he uttered this unforgettable phrase as I bent down to take another picture of another piece of cake:

"Don't you ever think you have enough stupid pictures of cake?"

Maybe it was the choice of words. Maybe it was the condescending tone of voice. Maybe it was both. Whatever, it bugged me.

I shrugged it off at the time, but the phrase stuck in my craw for a while. So I'm writing about it now - as I share another stupid picture of stupid cake.

Hindsight is always 20/20. We always come up with the brilliant retort hours or days after the events that incited them. Here's what I wanted to say: I guess I'll stop writing about things that interest me once I think I've got enough in the archives. I guess I'll put away my camera for good once I think I've taken enough pictures of the kids. I guess I'll stop recording the world around me because small-minded doofs would rather criticize my own pursuits than engage in their own.

Yeah, I'm ranting. Sorry.

Thinking rationally now, I will, in fact, never stop recording these seemingly "stupid" things. Film is cheap. Digital memory is infinitely cheaper. Come to think of it, so is a stack of pens, a lifetime's supply of ink, a cupboard full of paper pads, a laptop and an ever-bulging hard drive.

Memories, on the other hand, are precious and fleeting. What I choose to capture is pretty much up to me. Thank goodness I ignored this person's similar advice when I was younger. To think of all the fun I would have missed had I actually believed that creativity must come with a box around it.

Your turn: Do you let the opinions of others shape what you choose to capture and how you choose to capture it? Oh, and while you're at it, does this picture make you hungry?

One more thing: Expect more pictures of cake in future. And dogs. And little people. And flooded rivers. And...


Sandy said...

Ahh, what does he know. I, personally, enjoy both stupid cake and photos of it.

Seriously, no, I don't let others influence what I write, photograph, sing (off-key), dance around like nuts, or otherwise generally express myself. How sad it would be to allow oneself to be repressed by someone else's lack of creative vision or the inability to appreciate the right of someone else to have such a vision.

Jill said...

I love seeing your photos. And I haven't seen a "stupid" one yet.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes people just don't "get it" do they. Unlike you, they might not see the divine order that you capture with your photos, or they may not read the insight these photos bring you, and us.

but for the grace of g-d, you could be like them. but you're not, so keep on doing exactly what you do, because one day your children will have zillions of pictures to relate to and look at when they most need them and they will be reminded of just how special a person you are.

I think we all appreciate the care and widsom that photography brings you.


Anonymous said...

Carmi, that guy's comment was rude and obnoxious. Keep those cake photos coming! (And yeah, it makes me hungry. Looks like the marble poundcake at Starbucks.)

Karen said...

Yes, unfortunately, I'm way too sensitive to other people's comments and opinions. I think part of it is that sometimes certain people know how to push my buttons. Perhaps you should have then aimed your camera at him and started snapping away!

I love the cake photo - it looked yummy!!

OldLady Of The Hills said...

I tried to comment before but Blogge was down for repairs...I am so glad it is back up, Carmi. I couldn't agree with you more! Whoever said those things now and way beack when, sounds like a sour 'put a damperon' other people's crwativity...UGH UGH UGH! I hope you comtinue to do and be the wonderful creative spirit that you are...photographing everything and anything that you feel like....THAT is how great art is created! People following the hearts; their creative hearts, too...
And yes, that picture makes me hungry....Yum Yum. I just ate 2 Brownies. (lol) Maybe I should photograph them before I eat anymore...
Personally, I LOVE ALL your photographs Carmi and find them fascinating, informative and beautiful, too! Your perspective...THAT'S what makes your photographs so very special. Keep On Keeping On, my dear.

Anonymous said...

He doesn't get it, does he?

Lifelong Learner said...

And I say "yes, let them eat cake." I love that title. It's fitting.

Great cake picture, too. Keep doing what you do!

Thumper said...

I try to not let what otehrs think shape what I want to do or need to do, at east not now. When I was younger, even after I was married and had a kid, I often worried what my parents would think and often didn't do things because I knew they would disapprove.

Now...I car ebut I don't let change things. I only have so long to do what I want to do... I don't care if it's "stupid," if I want to do something or go somewhere or whatever, I do it if I can.

And yes, dangit, that picture makes me want cake!!!

mattviews said...

I grew up in Hong Kong until my folks packed my bags and put me on a US-bound plane when I was 12. One of favorite past-times (maybe the one past-time, I know it sounds pathetic) was watching the double-decker buses flying by the streets. I used to field the exact same question from my friends with buses just like you field for your cakes. "Don't you have enough of the cotton picking buses?" Oh no, never. Buses came in all models: Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Olympus, Dennis...air-conditioned, non-AC, 9.9m, 10.6m, 11m, and the 12m "Dragon." I would give them a tirade of information that was proven to be ludicrously useless - but I took pleasure in cataloging these buses that have become landmarks of the the city. Viewings of a new model serving a specific route contributed to very special kodak moments! How could I be tired of them?

keda said...

no. and yes.

i don't let anyones opinions dictate what i capture or almost anything i do.

sadly many people have little vision outside their own work and tv lives. yet it is those people who choose to put anyone who does down.
and it is often the people closest to us.

hardly any of my friends visit my blog. those who do are mostly supportive but i often get negative questions like "why do you do that- its not FOR anything" etc.
some people will always try to put down what they don't understand. its very sad.

and yes. it does make me hungry*

The Gnat's Trumpet said...

What a[n] [unkind description omitted]. I'm glad you take and post these pictures and that you enjoy doing it. I enjoy stopping by and looking at them and reading your descriptions.

Viamarie said...

It sure did make me hungry. I just got out of a meeting and I have not taken any thing to eat yet.

Mrs. Falkenberg said...

Yes, I want cake. And not just any cake. I want the cake in your picture!!!
I'm afraid I let people around me influence me far too much. I hide my favourite reading material. I resist pink towels. I let my child eat/drink things at a friend's house that I really don't approve of, simply to avoid the eye-rolling.

rashbre said...

A fine picture and I like your poiints of view on the photography as well as in the writing. Cake on.


srp said...

And cats. Don't forget cats. They could help you get over the crass remark by looking at you with their soft eyes and purring. How can you be angry watching that?

It seems you march to your own drummer and make your own memories. Keep making them and make them count. Ignore the stupidity.

Here from Michele.

Anonymous said...

Well the cake photo caught my eye within seconds of visiting your blog. Then when I read what your family member said I groaned. The guy is unhappy in his life to be such a twit. Sincerely, he is a twit.

I get more than my share of critique as well due to my line of work (Creative Director), and although I have far from perfected not letting people's opinions break me too much I have gotten better at it. You really have to consider the source and weigh the value of that source's opinion. In this case I don't see much value or constructive critique. Just another grumpy guy that doesn't understand you or value what you do.

Lisa said...

I say "Let them eat cake!" :-)

And yes that picture makes me VERY hungry.

Michele sent me back again, as if I need a reason to visit. ;-)

photowannabe said...

Choice words..
Creativity with a box around it...
I hate to see creativity squelched.
Keep on keeping on Carmi.