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“Get out of the car.”

January 2, 2012

The luxury of extra time at home means added time for reading whatever I choose.  The past few days I chose Nick Kelsh’s How to Photograph Your Life: Capturing Everyday Moments with Your Camera and Your Heart.  Kelsh, a professional photographer, shot all the pictures for his book with his wife’s amateur digital pocket camera.  His goal was to show her what the camera could do.  In the section “How to Photograph a Landscape,” Kelsh tells the following story.

When I was in college, the great Life magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstadt came to speak.  “Do you have any advice for young photographers?” one of my fellow students asked.  “Yes,” he said.  “Get out of the car.” 

“Get out of the car.”  Maybe that should be a no-brainer.  But let’s face it, sometimes getting out of the car seems inefficient, a waste of time and energy.  Sometimes getting out of the car is messy, maybe even risky.  So why do it?  Because when you get out of the car, you make the decision to become a part of the landscape, to be fully engaged.  All of your senses are gathering information and the possibilities are endless.

“Get out of the car.”  What if Eisenstadt’s words aren’t just about shooting pictures?  What if those five words could launch us, fully present, into a new year?  Would we be better listeners out of the car?  Maybe standing on the landscape we would see the value in others, discover the strength in ourselves.  Maybe we would find we are capable of stepping into each day.  Choosing to be witness to our own life.  All of it.  The painful moments that threaten to paralyze us in our own fear of loss, and the moments of joy that call us to celebrate with abandon.

The textbook, The Master Student, presents “truths” for mastering school and life.  One of them is  “Be here now.”  Show up.  I hope the remaining 363 days of 2012 find you choosing to “get out of the car” to experience life from the landscape.

“There is beauty in the details if you only look for them.  One of the most beautiful nature shots I’ve ever taken was a close up of weeds growing in a ditch next to a junkyard.”–Nick Kelsh, How to Photograph Your Life

6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 3, 2012 12:47 am

    excellent post! I read Ram Dass Be Here Now 25 years ago and really you sum it up:

    “get out of the car”

    I NEED to get out of mine. Thank you for a new look at a new year.

    Peace, Jen

    • January 8, 2012 11:15 am

      Thank you for your comments and for sharing your own candid view of living life where your are for now. I just discovered I had not come back to respond to some comments. I wanted to read your recent post again this morning.

      Just as I began reading, I heard our own geese flying over and announcing their plan to head still further south. I think you’re right, there are no accidents in this world. I will be thinking about you as your January continues.

      Traveling mercies, Paulann

  2. January 3, 2012 4:28 am

    So true, so simple but so necessary to finding joy in whatever happens to be right here.

  3. January 8, 2012 8:11 am

    I’m getting out of the car from now on!

    • January 8, 2012 9:25 am

      I said that same thing to myself when I first read the quote and the backstory. I plan to see what 2012 looks like from that vantage point.

      FYI – When you read my recent post on the Heartbreak blog, please ignore the typos and missing words. Commenting from my iPad is risky business as the comment box won’t let me scroll back to read and correct. Really bugs me since “Murphy’s Law” means there will be something to correct. And then there are the auto-correct moments that no one in their right mind would choose as a substitute. Hope the comment is translatable enough to make sense.

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