04: photography as a result of life

And in the midst of living, take a photo.

Life's a complex thing that's made up of simpler parts, but how simple can simple get? If we traced this mystery all the way to the beginning, what would we find? Elementary particles, apparently, particles so simple that physicists think they are not made up of anything else, and are the actual fundamental building blocks of the universe. This is so hard for my brain to compute.

I've read interviews by really smart scientists who, after talking about the complex and fascinating stuff they research about, come to the conclusion that they don't have a single idea about what anything really is. They don't understand the simplest parts and the most basic things about this world.

We're all interested in the big questions of life, such as, where did life come from? What is time? What is space? But we walk around with these mysteries just hanging in the air like that on a daily basis.

John O'Donohue, Irish mystic-poet-philosopher-theologian and writer, writes about mystery a lot. He also tends to equate mystery with beauty. His interview on Krista Tipett's "On Being" is one of the most-listened-to episodes of the podcast. This means that a lot of people care about mystery. And beauty. Maybe we instinctively know they are the same thing.

Since neither scientists nor artists nor priests know what life really is, we must come to the conclusion that the answer to anything is elusive. If our life philosophy is all about "figuring out" the answers to the questions in our head, we might have a pretty tough time on earth.

This is the kind of destructive worldview that has led to the suffocation of many minds - the search for hard answers and definite paths and concrete results and immovable surety.

A softer philosophy is needed.

A softer philosophy - giving up on finding answers, focusing on growing only in understanding, ignoring conventions, digging deeper rather than spreading wider, finding joy in collecting mistakes, wasting time, getting off the moral high ground, choosing your friends and not feeling guilty about that, working on your own timeline, always investigating your curiosities, going your own way despite the nonsensical trappings of this world, etc.

More importantly, a unique and individual philosophy is needed. The world throws philosophies at us every day - believe this or else - but I want to take only what I like and what works for me and make up my own.

We're not here to crack any mysteries. We're here to roll around in life and experience its peaks and troughs and make discoveries and pick up things and poke at things and create things that express our ignorance and awe at all this mystery and beauty.

At least that's my philosophy. What's yours?


Cormac McCarthy:

“The truth about the world, he said, is that anything is possible. Had you not seen it all from birth and thereby bled it of its strangeness it would appear to you for what it is, a hat trick in a medicine show, a fevered dream, a trance bepopulate with chimeras having neither analogue nor precedent, an itinerant carnival, a migratory tentshow whose ultimate destination after many a pitch in many a mudded field is unspeakable and calamitous beyond reckoning.

The universe is no narrow thing and the order within it is not constrained by any latitude in its conception to repeat what exists in one part in any other part. Even in this world more things exist without our knowledge than with it and the order in creation which you see is that which you have put there, like a string in a maze, so that you shall not lose your way. For existence has its own order and that no man’s mind can compass, that mind itself being but a fact among others.”

― from “Blood Meridian, or, the Evening Redness in the West”


Liberation. I know we all hear that call in our bones. But to liberate from what? To prison-break from where? And after we have made our escape, what is out there waiting for us?


Photography as a result of life. This frames photography as a natural act, like breathing. You have a camera and you take photos. Are they meaningful? That's not for you to say. Is there a narrative? The more you try to force a narrative, the uglier things become. Instead, breathe. And in the midst of living, take a photo. Now that the struggle is off, photography becomes an act of refreshment rather than... an ego-war, or whatever it might be otherwise.


What have I been doing with my days? Babysitting my nieces and nephews. Visiting my mum. Reading six books at once. Trying to write. Shot my first fashion editorial (I wasn't planning on taking on any jobs this year but I did have a rule that said if anything came up that was super interesting I would do it, and I have never done a fashion editorial before, so I said yes to the request). Gossiped with my friends. Cooked. Quarrelled with my cat. Exercised. Went on long walks. Stay home a lot. Brought a friend from overseas to Tiong Bahru. Fell sick.


I quite like Phoebe Philo's philosophy.


Goal for this week: Go out and take photos.

See you guys next week! ❤️

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