Happy is a verb – The Morning Chronicles Jan.29

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On one of my morning walks with Largo this week – always a time to meditate – out of the blue a thought dropped into my head.
Probably the consequence of watching the news and seeing nothing but misery, hate, bad financial developments… You name it.
Or watching that documentary about a circus school in Afghanistan and seeing the sparkle in those children’s eyes.

There was never a moment in history – I guess – where we had that much of anything.
That much luxury,
that much technology
and that much books written about happiness.
The how’s, the why’s.
The means to, or not to.
The do’s the don’ts.
Techniques to apply, therapies to follow…
One could easily turn unhappy because it’s impossible to read or do all that.

Me myself feel ever so often
“just not happy”
“Down”
“blue”
“off-day-ish”.

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But there I walked. Precious Largo on his leash in front of me, looking over his shoulder “hey mom, still following?”.
The streets deserted but everywhere nice houses, warm inside.
The weather outside was frightful (!) – heavy bursts of wind hitting my face, rain blowing in all directions.
But, I was walking, free.
Able to wear what I want.
No fear necessary to be harassed or worse.
I can go where I want, when I want,
eat whatever, whenever I feel something we call “hunger”.
Even our dog has more and better food than many children have.

But still everyone is searching for that abstract happiness, promoted in magazines… It became a well paying, commercial topic.

And although you can’t measure your own happiness by the unhappiness of others, this thought popped up: maybe I must start every walk with a little awareness of how lucky we are, being able to do all of the above, freely.
Happiness sits between one’s ears. It is what it is.
You can’t force it.
Neither can you buy it….
Maybe, just maybe, there’s the key… We have become so used to being able to buy about anything, that we turn unhappy with what money can’t buy…. Money doesn’t make you happy, but we have started to think it does.

Happy is thinking of what we do have, instead of what we don’t.
Happy is reminding ourselves to think about that, from time to time.
That’s why I think happy is a verb… You have to work on it.

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2/ 52 Entrances to condacum – Hofke Janssens

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This beautiful house in the centre of our village, dates from the 18th century. The centre even 17th.
It has had many names, amongst others “Hofke Janssens”. It had different destinations too.
We live here now 28 years and we’ve known it to be a fancy restaurant and an insurance/bank office.
The building as well as the garden is classified as heritage as well as protected village view.

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A matter of style – The Morning Chronicles – 11/1/15

Sometimes I wake up quite early. And because I don’t want to wake my husband, nor Largo, I just lie still and that’s an excellent occasion for my brain to get active. Wondering, pondering…. About what to do that day, about things that happened recently or long time ago, exact words that have been spoken and what I will answer next time when, if…. But also about photography, my photography, and where it’s going.

And all too often the question of ‘style’ hops on stage. What is style? What determines one’s signature? I would like to have a style of my own, a recognizable signature, an invisible stamp that tells the viewer: that’s Marl1’s!
But I don’t think I have that. I might have had it, back in the days when I was a macro photographer, flowers mainly. Back then I put the spotlight on one particular part of the flower, a flaw, a characteristic, creating a sense of motion, or intimacy.

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Then I stopped photographing flower fragments. Tried still photography. Experimented with textures I bought (Kim Klassen, French Kisses, Florabella) and even painted them myself.

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My creative space is packed with paint, backgrounds, surfaces, props and stuff, trays, cups, cuttlery, cloths, linnen…. But my drive to set up the stills and sit for hours afterwards in front of my computer to find the most fitting texture faded and finally vanished.

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And now my 4 dslr’s, a heap of lenses, lighting material, umbrellas etc sit unemployed in my room. The creative space being cluttered with shirts that need ironing, clothes that need fixing.
The only camera you’ll find in my hands nowadays is my iPhone.
Am I lazy?
I have projects in my head. Start them sometimes – with my phone – and then stop again, thinking “isn’t it a pitty to not take this with a ‘real’ camera”.
Come to think of it, my iPhone is a blessing and a curse, assembled in one tiny, flat, pocket size device.

As a result I don’t post anymore on Fotoblur, 1 Exposure, Flickr, Belgian Digital. There’s just Instagram, the typical phone photography site.
And when I browse my feed I see a incoherent bunch of photographs. My dog, a still life, a miksang shot, something funny, a flower, something textured…. There’s neither consistence in subject , nor in color-setting or mood.

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Then I think: but all those photographers with a certain signature, often always do the same, just variations to a theme. One time the vase is on the left, then it’s on the right. And it almost always is shot from above.
I’ve seen photographers shooting nothing but red lampposts against a steel blue sky. Or only dreamy shots with sugar-candy-pinkish filters used etc. I like all of this. Except for the red lampposts maybe :-)

So what is this thing with a personal style?
Do I need/want to go back to the big photosites like Fotoblur, 1X … And pick up my DSLR again for those?
Do I want to renounce on my principle and mix my actual Instagram feed – being almost exclusively iPhone images now – with DSLR ones in the future?

If I’m not lazy, maybe then I’m puzzled, or undecisive…..
Anyhow, It’s a question that occupies me often….

Marl1