Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ars Gratia Artis

So, a funny thing has happened. Funny ironic, not funny ha-ha. When I started this blog, I also started blog-hopping, finding new and interesting people, seeking out inspiration and direction. And boy, did I find it! There are some amazing artists and artisans out there, each of whom seems to have fully developed her own style and created something wonderful out of her creative impulses.

And since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, as they say, whenever I see something so lovely I can't help but think, "I wish I could do that!" But, of course, I can't. No one can do your own thing so well as you can, after all.

And somehow, in the midst of being inspired by the wonderful paths taken by other photographers and artists, I've completely lost sight of my own path. I've started to catch myself thinking things like, "What's the point of doing any of this, anyway? What does it matter?"

And that's a scary thing. I have always been a believer in ars gratia artis, art for its own sake. And now, to be thinking that there's no point in it? That way, there lie monsters!

I think I forgot about one of those fundamental truths by which I've chosen to live my life, as set forth in this Buddhist koan: "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him."

In other words, once you have embarked upon your own path, be it to happiness, enlightenment, or any other end not accept guidance from outsiders, even ones who have already reached their own goals. The path another took can never be the exact same path you will take, and everything you need to know is already within you. Following in the steps of another will never take you to the correct destination but will merely end with you lost in the dark woods.

So, rather than looking at all of these wonderful artists as being like Buddhas...those who have already found their paths...and therefore as inspiration for starting my own personal journey, I have become too distracted by the particulars of their paths and have been blinded to the particulars of my own.

I need to try and recapture the innocent joy I once took in my own photography, in showing others the unique and quixotic way that I look at the world. With spring finally showing signs of sticking around, there is no better time to seek rejuvenation, after all.


  1. I can relate to this post. When you spend time browsing other people's blogs and see all the creativity out there (even if it's completely different than your own) it's easy to get lost in it and lose your own direction.

    Keep up the photography, the photos you've posted are great.

    And the words you've offered are inspirational as well. Thanks!

  2. Haha, I'm so glad you explained that buddha quote, because I was definitely a little confused at first.

    Great post.

  3. What a perfect reminder to all of us at those times when we think that maybe our lives would be easier if we'd chosen a different path...hmmmm....maybe the path chooses us. Great inspirational post for the artist in all of us!