I was never much of a handyman and there were always profound limitations to my ability to craft and create. I’m not a great cook. I find drawing stickmen with two even sized legs a chore. The World I inhabited for much of my adult life was one of considered thought and extracurricular ideas. Books. Movies. Conversation.
But over the last ten years I’ve moved into a far more satisfying phase of my life with the growing inclination toward making things in the real World. Actual physical stuff. I really enjoy making mead and having people appreciate it. And I enjoy making photographs with old analogue cameras.
I enjoy the idea that when I do return to the dirt – as humans are bound to do whether we like to accept it or not – there will be physical artifacts. Photographs. Bottles of liquor. These artifacts serve as a commentary beyond the verbal history or the thought impressions left in my wake.
Real things matter. And I’m not sure the books I’ve read or the movies watched or the conversations with incredibly diverse and interesting people will account to much of anything. They’re vapourware. Just like tens-of-thousands of unprinted digital photographs are vapourware. Because a photograph isn’t a real photograph until it’s an actual photograph, or at least a negative, in the hand.
I live in a house with a potters wheel, an etching press, easels and brushes, ink and paint and pencils. Cameras. Chemicals. Fermenting mead. The things of making other things. This is a house of artists and artisans. And I’ve come to appreciate the intrinsic value of making things and made things more and more in recent years.
When I sit back on a couch late at night with a photograph I know this to be something real and of value. It persists when I leave the room. And the closer I can ingrain myself to the making of these physical things the more rewarding I find the experience of living in the World. Real things connect us. They give us power.