Home and Away

/ Monday, May 9, 2011 /
                                                                                           Waiting © Chrissie Smolders

I remember Amy saying that I was like a stranger here: I can view and capture, but I don’t have real access to life in New York City. Outside of the vicinity of 151 Kent, I believe this to be true.  Even though I go through daily life here like any other, I am often reminded of not being an American.  It’s a fun and learning experience.  Being away from my homeland makes it possible for me to view Holland from a distance and America from up close. I feel like I’m experiencing both an objective and subjective vision of both countries at the same time.

The weird sentences I sometimes put together draw laughter from my friends here, as well as me never having tasted peanutbutter with jelly before. They took me in as one of their own immediately, and I am forever thankful. Being with them and living as a resident, not as a visitor, made it possible for me blend in with the American crowd. I do think that makes it easier for me to walk around in neighborhoods where I’ve never been before, without feeling like an intruder.

Being in a strange surrounding often makes it hard for me to be confident as a photographer. It makes me hesitate, hurry or just not take the picture.
I suppose I’m not the only one experiencing this, and hopefully it will go away with time.  That and using my strong will to not listen to my fears, but to my wants.
A strengthening thought also is that I know that I am the one who has the most influence on what I do.

For as far as photography goes, I embrace being an outsider. I believe it makes it easier for me to see what is there in front of me, to observe, to wonder. I catch myself looking into homes, behind fences, always so curious to see what goes on in other people’s lives.  All that is there are clues to what they think is important, or useless. What they think is beautiful.

I know that I have the same curiosity in Holland, but it seems like I miss a vital part there.  I miss the curious eye that I have here, one that I have while I wander around and that is still able to catch a special scene in daily life.
I suppose I just don’t go strolling about at home. Everything seems so familiar that I don’t look for that which I have not seen yet. Even though I know that there are enough parts of the Netherlands which I have not seen yet with my own eyes.
That will be a new resolution for when I go back home.  I need to not close myself off for familiarity and keep an open mind for that which seems dull in my mind.

For the next 6 weeks though, I am still in America, and I am going to make the most of  me being in these unfamiliar waters.  


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