anywhere i roam

thoughts on connection


In Study Hacks Blog, Cal Newport makes an interesting distinction between the social internet and social media.

The former describes the internet’s ability to enable connection, learning, and expression. The latter describes the attempt of a small number of large companies to monetize these capabilities inside walled-garden, monopoly platforms.

I am happy to say that even though I do not participate in social media, the social internet serves me well. It feels as though the whole world is open to me – to take online classes, to share my photographs and stories, to make connections and friendships. I view every post as an invitation for connection. Without social media, my community may be smaller but the relationships I build through this space are meaningful.

I can’t remember just where I read it, but I recently came across a study that reported the greatest determinant of happiness comes from the quality of our relationships. Maintaining close relationships may well be the most important work we do in our lives. It’s fairly easy to stay connected to those who have similar interests and beliefs, but I find that navigating our differences is where the real growth occurs.

And sometimes those opportunities for growth walk right up and ask me in.

From my friend and fellow photographer, Cathy Sly -

I enjoy blogging. I enjoy the process of writing and taking photos. And I love what you say about photographs that have real value, even if it is only for my eyes. And like you, but opposite!  As much as I love street photography and documentary photos, I am just not drawn to make those kinds of photos. Part of that is my rural setting I think. We don't even have a town really. But my camera is my lifeline and I love doing what I do with it.
I wonder if we might take our very opposite views on the world and work it into something we could do together at some point. Something to ponder.

My response –

What if we bring images together based on something we feel or want to express, some story we want to tell. And those images could reflect our unique voices which are quite similar in tone and style though different in subject. And perhaps the subjects are not so different at all - maybe we are expressing a similar concept or feeling, but simply in two different ways.

And so it is that I begin this new project, based on our common need for belongingness and connection.

Whatever it is that first draws you in, there will come a moment when you see that its close connections in turn have their own connections. This is the exhilarating moment when we realize that everything is connected.
— Tristan Gooley, How to Read Nature, Awaken Your Senses to the Outdoors You’ve Never Noticed

Cathy and I will pair our images, connected by a single word, theme or concept, a few times a month. We’ll share readers and friend and thoughts and ideas, and see where this all goes. We’ll try things to see if they work.

For the other half of this story on connection, visit my photographer-storyteller-friend, Cathy Sly.

She’s five miles from home . . . and I’m anywhere i roam.