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Hip Hop, Photography, and Passion’s Story Telling
Hip Hop.. was set out in the dark!! Let’s go back to the period of 1985 to 1995. It was filled with discovery, DJ’ing, break dancing and battle rhymes! If you ask any rapper from that era about who was on their list of top five BEST rappers, I would bet you 16 bars (look it up) that the numbers 2 thru 5 would vary between about 20 different rappers. The part to pay special attention to would be the #1 spot; I bet each rapper would say himself/herself. Yes, every rapper thought (and I dare say STILL thinks) that he/she was/is the BEST rapper alive. Outside of the visual arrogance, there’s a lesson I learned from this.
1. Hip Hop taught me that I’m the BEST. It was clear that some of those artists weren’t the best, yet that didn’t matter because the passion that each had told a different story. It’s not completely about being the actual best, it’s more about having the confidence and passion to become the best. I love that message. What story is YOUR passion telling you? My passion says “Gee James, you are #1. You are the best.” I believe it. And honestly, although I have a ways to go in many areas concerning photography, my passion is on 100. It definitely takes more than just passion to be a success or an expert in any field, but without it, success will elude many of us. My mama told me to speak life into my existence; hip hop just reaffirmed that. Speak life. Then work that life. I spoke that life back when I had a point-and-shoot camera and also when I got my first advance-amateur kit. I spoke it when I thought shutter speed had something to do with room temperature and when I couldn’t spell ISO. I didn’t exactly know what I was doing then, … but it didn’t matter. I knew my story. I worked that story.
The pictures: I took these pictures yesterday (9.30.12) of one of my friends – isn’t she pretty!?. I routinely challenge myself in writing and I’m starting to do this more in my photography. I wanted to switch things up yesterday and decided to just grab my camera and see if I could create some magic – fortunately, a friend was down! I gave myself 15 minutes and didn’t research a location. We just picked a random spot and decided to look for art…. to make art… to create something from nothing. I learned this from Hip Hop.
2. Hip Hop taught me that Life is Art. I can’t really say that I learned this from any one rapper. I think many of the early stories of rappers had a similar theme: make lemonade from lemons. That’s art to me. Taking that a step farther, you could say that many made art from hardships and challenged lives. There’s a passion… a testimony… that you’ll hear concerning home ownership from a homeless person that you’ll never get from those who’ve lived in a nice home all of their lives. I think that’s one of the reasons that Hip Hop drew me and so many others in initially. That’s what I want to give others.
The practical side of my ‘challenge’ is that there will come a time (again) where I only have 15 minutes to get great pictures. I may not be able to research and choose a beautiful location as I like to do. And circumstances may be out of my control and there may be no time to plan the poses and scenes. Hopefully during those times, I’ll remember that Hip Hop helped prepare me for situations like this – to make lemonade from lemons. So on that day, I’ll look to my fear and hesitation and remember the classic lines from rapper Big Daddy Kane:
Dear Fear, today will be “another victory. You can’t get with me. So pick a BC date ‘cause you’re history… Aint no half steppin.”
So simple. Yet powerful. And deep down I’m thinking if I can create art in 15 minutes with no planning,… just imagine the artistic possibilities in ALL areas of life that can happen with appropriate planning, more time for research and equal levels of passion.
What are YOUR possibilities? I dare say they are endless.
More about the pictures: I hope you enjoy my art. I was actually going for a “closed eye” theme (as you see many are that way) but she had some good regular pics and I wanted to share those also. The background wasn’t at all appealing, so I did mostly close ups. She had a great smile IMO and my goal was to capture that in a soft, yet open form. I hope that makes sense.
Today, I’m thankful for the lessons we learn from various places and I’m thankful for life’s perfect verses … over tight passionate beats. God bless.