In recent years my photography has become very special to me. I started in 2011 when out of desperation I needed something enjoyable in my life to cope with depression. In the last few years my camera has been instrumental in assisting me with resolving the condition, I think permanently. I ended up using the honest enjoyment I get from pursuing photography, from the process of it, to offset the discomfort of the self-analysis and reflection I needed to accept myself and my circumstances more honestly, eventually and incrementally alleviating depression.
I permitted my enjoyment of photography to become a more compelling addiction than my old, depressive routines. And additionally, I found that while I’m engaged in the process, particularly while focus stacking with my microscope, I think differently. It’s a subtly altered conscious state where my hands and part of my mind are engaged in a complex yet repetitive task, and this frees something up elsewhere in my mind, some quiet capacity that is easily drowned out by the normal chatter of our thoughts. It reduces my inhibitions about thinking critically, and also my inhibitions about thinking abstractly. This shouldn’t have felt surprising considering these inhibitions are invariably dishonest, but I hadn’t quite accepted that in the beginning. Sometimes I ponder my subjects former lives, or aspects of their bodies, but sometimes I just engage in the creative process while thinking about the larger scale issues, the grand scale issues, or old memories that still upset me. I take notes when I take breaks, and it works very well for me.
I now approach life from the perspective that science, art and philosophy are three distinct ways in which we attempt to accept what is real. I believe they are best practiced in concert, as seamlessly as possible. I see the rivalry and disdain each group has for another as holding us back, telling of our as yet unresolved issues with our self honesty. These fields directly address this issue when we practice them together. There is no correlation between a person’s intelligence or education and the way in which they prioritize the value of self honesty. Changing how we prioritize this value is a choice we can freely pursue at any time. It begins with accepting enough of our reality and existence to feel somewhat secure in ourselves because dishonest emotionalism is the bane of self honesty. The patience I required of myself to pursue my photography for thousands of hours over the last two years helped me to accept a great many other things, including this.
My photographic setup is pretty rudimentary. I shoot Pentax, and my DSLRs are about 10 years old. Focus stacking takes a great number of exposures, and last year I used a little more than one whole camera body’s life on it. Using older models helps to keep the cost manageable. I have two microscopes now, one is a continuous zoom with a camera port, and the other is a very standard high school level compound microscope from 1982 (A Swift 960). I emphasize the low cost, the low barrier for entry because I frequently meet people who think this stuff can only be done with very expensive hardware. It’s not true. It takes a great deal of time and practice, but it’s very enjoyable. I may add a tutorial page to the site about stacking techniques.
The purpose of this website is just to afford myself a personal space in which I can share some of my enjoyment of all of this stuff and some ideas I think may help. The photos themselves are artifacts of enjoyment I converted into healing, which is clearly ineffable and non-transferable, but there is also enjoyment to be had in simple observation. I hope you enjoy them.