March 2014 President’s BLOG–Shooting from the Lip

The Struggles of March

The month of March is a month of struggle.  Don’t believe me?  Let’s think about it.

To start with, the vernal equinox occurs around March 20th.  This is the first official day of spring, when the hours of daylight equal the hours of darkness, and the days start becoming longer than the nights.  This first day of spring symbolizes nature’s struggle to free itself of winter’s icy grip.

The next struggle we examine comes from the ancient Roman Empire.  In Roman times, the “Ides of March” was noted as a deadline for settling debts.  In 44 B.C., the Ides took on additional meaning when Julius Caesar was assassinated in a power struggle.  Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar” brought us the well-known phrase, uttered by the soothsayer in the play, “Beware the Ides of March.”

Are you a sports fan?  How about “March Madness”, the annual struggle between college basketball teams to become number one?

Then there’s St Patrick’s Day (March 17).  What struggle is involved with this celebration?  After consuming too much green beer, many people struggle to stand up and walk straight.

What are some of the cultural perspectives of struggle?  A National Public Radio article discussed the different views of struggle in Eastern versus Western culture.  The East embraces struggle as an unavoidable part of life and learning, something to embrace and to learn how to deal with.  Westerners, especially Americans, shun and avoid struggle.  We view struggle as something insulting and belittling.  In truth, struggle is a part of the learning process.  The only choice we have is how we choose to confront and embrace struggle.

What does struggle have to do with photography?  We all struggle with developing and mastering skills—understanding apertures and shutter speeds, the principles of lighting, digital editing programs.  In this struggle, we can quit and never advance, or we can embrace the struggle, learn through it, and grow.  And we don’t have to endure it alone—we can ask for help.  There are always friends, family members, and fellow club members and photographers who are willing to walk beside you through your struggle.

Diverging from our discussion on struggle, here’s something interesting for photography.

Photo by Romain Veillon

For some reason, the concept of ghost towns—abandoned civilizations—intrigues me.  An additional component is the effect of nature on reclaiming its environment from man-made civilization.  Once upon a time in the early 1900s, there was a German community in the southwest African country of Namibia.  A “diamond” rush drew the Germans there.  They built European-style communities, complete with swimming pools.  A few decades later, richer diamond deposits were found elsewhere, and the community died out, becoming a ghost town.  Recently, photographer Romain Veillon secured the necessary government permits to travel to the abandoned settlement of Kolmanskop.  Here is his story and photographs.


Mark Naumann

President, MVPC


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