By: Thorsten Overgaard. June 1, 2021
(This article is an excerpt from my book "Why do I Photograph?" which you can buy and download here).
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Do fairies exist, the small people with magical powers?
I think this is something every child should spend a good while thinking about, and it would make me happy to see them go look for them in the garden or in the back of the kitchen’s pantry.
Then there are the spirits, the good and the bad spirits. Am I a spirit or am I not? What happened before life, and where did grandma go when she died? Can I talk to her even though she doesn’t have an Instagram account?
Later comes love.
My daughter Caroline wrote a letter to God to have him make Asger notice her in school. God didn’t answer, nor did Asger, and somehow she got over it, got married to Chet and lived happily ever after.
My daughter Caroline’s wedding. Leica M10 with Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4. © Thorsten Overgaard.
As a parent, I think it is important to ensure that a child or young person expands their universe to the unknown and the known through games, creations, self-expression, white lies, honorable actions, aesthetics, activities, music, theatre, art, writing, philosophy, poetry, movies and other visual arts.
In other words, it’s important for a person to build the ability to self-expression by having hobbies and interests.
As a parent it is a duty to engage one’s children in creating things that are tactile.
As a teenager, you must put your device away for some days, weeks or forever and you will experience that you have things inside of you that want to get out. But as long as you are busy looking at a screen, you are not aware of the amazing powers and abilities you hold.
Once they start come out, you will start developing them, and you will get quite competent, and you will seem really clever in other’s eyes.
It’s a built-in ability to create, but sometimes you have to sit really still and begin to feel hopelessly bored before it comes out into the light. But believe me, once you sit down somewhere and do nothing for a while, you will feel an urge to do something, and your own ideas will come out.
Havana, Cuba. Leica M10-Pwith Leica 50mm Noctilux f/0.95
Don’t grab the screen. Hold your hands still and be so bored that you eventually come up with something.
Why is this important?
If you notice a person later in their life who has no interests, no hobbies and no urges nor abilities to make anything themselves, you are looking at a person that is lost to consuming entertainment. What else can you do? Punishing yourself with inhaling the falsities and half-truths being fed you by the “entertainment channels”, without the ability to imagine it, or add to it.
That is true self-entrapment. Being alive, unable to make or improve life.
It is important not to become one of these persons, and you do so by engaging in fantasies, doing things with your hands and mind, and creating early in life. The more you do of it, the better you become.
If you wondered why you are here, what the meaning of it all is, this is how you find out. You sit down and get bored.
Many who did this, sat alone in their room as children, not always happy, but eventually came up with ideas that made them billionaires and celebrities. They literally didn’t do anything other than listen to themselves.
And maybe, a fairy had a hand in it. You never know.
Berlin. Leica M10-P with Leica 50mm Summilux-M f/1.4
A nerd is defined as a person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious. You can be a nerd and use your skills to communicate with the world and other people. The idea that you lack social skills if you are into something, or are an expert or genius, is wrong.
Photography is one of the things a person can do early in life, or even late in life, and which will sparkle life from places that one didn’t know existed.
Picking up a camera, playing with it, wondering how it works will do this. Walking around with a camera and wondering what to put inside the frame is something that will make anybody feel alive.
It’s not too late, and it is not difficult, but someone has to turn on the light bulb.
Stephen Knowles in my Sydney Workshop 2018. Leica M10-P with 7artisans 50mm f/1.1. © Thorsten Overgaard.
I hope you enjoyed today's Story Behind That Picture (which was an excerpt from my book "Why do I Photograph?" which you can buy and download here). As always, feel free to email me with questions, ideas and suggestions.