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No Longer Robotic
I recently saw a post in a neighborhood group: someone was offering a 35-year-old encyclopedia set for sale.
Got me thinking about nonlinear narrative and the struggle and strength of making a photo every day.
Almost everything gets me thinking about making photos.
I had the World Book Encyclopedia (WBE) when I was young. I often would grab a volume and start reading. The WBE and the NAPA Parts Pups girlie magazines hidden in my father’s closet were my favorite reading.
I recall when my parents purchased our WBE from a door-to-door salesman, likely tipped off by a birth announcement in the newspaper. Back then, answering doorbells was customary, a practice now almost as archaic as the encyclopedia itself.
When we bought our WBE I wondered if learning could end.
I naively studied wondering that if I absorbed every page of the WBE – from the detailed accounts of the Peloponnesian War to the intricacies of U235's specific gravity – I would possess all the knowledge necessary to excel in various roles: citizen, worker, believer, husband, father, and custodian. I envisioned a point where only new information would be essential.
Then I saw “Forbidden Planet.”
The film introduced me to Freud and the concept of the id, a topic the WBE didn’t cover. This revelation led me down a path of study, one that raised more questions than answers and plunged me into a realm of confusion. I realized that encyclopedic knowledge wasn't the solution I was seeking; it was, in fact, the opposite of what I wanted to know.
Understanding the id, along with Freud's theories, transformed my approach to problem-solving and photography. I began to embrace the fluidity of questions and the incompleteness of narratives. This shift in perspective taught me to value experience, manage expectations, and acknowledge ignorance. It instilled in me a humility, an openness to what lies ahead, and an eagerness for the possible.
The WBE was discarded years ago. I should have saved the Parts Pups I snuck from my father’s closet. Freud would be fascinated.
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