it's been almost a month since i wrote anything on here (thanks to anyone checked out the little weeds thing and voted).
i just went to el salvador for a week to meet with a guy about working on a surf film for the next two years. it forced me to make some serious decisions.
recently, i've been thinking a lot about what i really want to do, and about all kinds of things. during this trip, i decided that the surf film, or surf photography in general (as a full-on job/lifestyle) isn't for me.
it will be a film with a great message, but i just can't fully dedicate my time and creativity towards that right now. (if anyone reading this is an aspiring filmmaker (or photographer who could easily make the transition to making films), send me a message and a sample of your work and i'll put you in contact with the producer. having plenty of free time and not much to tie you down would be be helpful in making it a possibility...
for me, it's time for a step away from the storytelling of surf culture. i just need to get back to the point where i'm simply enjoying surfing. i'm not going to talk about why it's fun...you all know.
somehow over the past year I lost that a bit. i need less talking about and thinking about surfing, and more of the actual activity. --less reading magazines, watching films, reading websites, etc. and more fun during the times that i am in the water -- i know enough about all of the excellent places around the world to surf, about board design, and about everything else that is talked about in those mediums, that i have no desire to learn anything else about it.
i'm inspired to live a more meaningful life out of the water, and then just surf because i like it. not everything has to revolve around the activity. i'm on the right track to get to that point.
i want to use the things i learned about the world and about myself over the last few years to do something great. i'm hoping that the kind of worldview i've acquired, mixed with my education and creativity, will be useful.
i'm not saying that i'm never going to shoot surf related photos... but i am likely going to do it a lot less. i'll be super selective in projects that i get involved in and sessions that i want to shoot. (picaresque was probably a perfect project for me to be a part of, and it helped me get to this point in figuring things out.)
only one of the el salvador photos here is even remotely surf related, actually. during this trip, it was a lot more fun for me to just walk around the city and shoot some street/lifestyle photos, and to take a couple portraits.
i spent a day with a local guy named oscar, from whom i learned a bit about how things work in their country. it's a pretty intense place for them. he told me that it is rather safe for tourists in el salvador right now (you still have to be smart), but it's not safe for the locals at all.
there is constant conflict between rival gangs, people not in gangs, and the police. none of them get along with eachother, and the authorities don't do much to help stop the violence. the threat of being "finished" is real to those who live in tough neighborhoods. the machete scars on oscar's neck, wrists, arms, and legs were clear evidence of that.
he has always worked instead of going to school (any school at all...i'm not talking about college), in order to provide for his mom and sisters. i assume that many others are like him in that way.
learning about these things directly from someone involved in them can be a reality check. even though the lives we lead are very different, we all have the same basic emotions, rights, senses, etc.
it's important to remember that. i think that's why i felt that i could relate to him so closely. even though my life experiences are very different from his, i've seen and been through enough to imagine what it would be like to live differently than i do, and through that imagination, i can feel what he feels, and i can understand, at least on a basic level, the issues of so many people around the world.
the material differences aren't important. many people put emphasis on that, saying things like "look at how small, dirty, simple their houses are... their clothes are so old... we're so lucky in the united states to have the luxuries that we have...".
luxuries and vanity are not what matter. the importance, instead, should be on basic necessities, including food, water, safety, education, shelter (any adequate shelter, not how great one's house is), medicine, at least some form of recreation, and community. how nice one's house, clothing, car (if they even own one) etc. is does not make them or their culture any better or worse.
i still don't know what i want to do, but in one way or another i want to help people who don't have those necessities to get them, and i want to help other people understand why those necessities are important for everyone. It may or may not be part of my job, but i hope it will be part of my life.
ok... anyway, here are some photos from el salvador.