GIVE IT SOME SOUL

Soul

noun

  1. the spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal.

  2. emotional or intellectual energy or intensity, especially as revealed in a work of art or an artistic performance.

Soul. It's a funny thing. Hard to master in some cases and often overwhelming when confronted with it off guard. Regardless of how it makes you feel. Soul is always relevant.

With the change in season, my music taste has transitioned into winter mode. There's always a sort of juxtaposition to my music tastes. In the summer I like to wear T-shirts with the sleeves missing and listen to bleak heavy music. The despairing sounds of stretched vocals and warm fuzz ignite a flame within me that takes me to desolate, foggy forests within my mind. I don't know why it does this. No doubt because I have a tinge of ginge in me. Subconsciously I'm probably trying to escape the heat that summer and spring brings. Winter however is different. It's like the animal instinct deep within kicks in to play. Searching for warmth and comfort away from the cold and dark of the winter months. Soulful music provides a good shelter.

Those who know me well will often laugh at how emotional I become when listening to gospel music. I am far from a religious person. Quite the opposite in fact. However the raw power of a gospel choir will turn me into a sniffling mess. It's the no holding back on the emotional front. It delves deep into my being and makes me wanna fuckin move and try follow all the runs and riffs... When there is no one watching of course! Mix in a bit of organ or piano and I've shut shop, taken the phone off the hook and locked the door until the final note is played. Should there be a big band involved I'm physically dead. Save your efforts till I've returned to the mortal realm.

John Legend's version of this song never fails to destroy me;

 

The past weeks have been filled with creativity. The mind has been whirring away at an ample pace. Editing photos, writing music and planning things. Alway's planning things... Forever coming up with new ideas. Many hours have been spent sat in my little sun filled room taking in the sounds of men and women who's voices carry the deepest sorrows and/or infinite highs. From messages of love and hope to tails of regrets and sorrow. I love them. Certain songs cause all of my hairs to stand on end while making my chest feel tight. Songs I wish I could sing let alone write. Whether it's your style or not I'd be hell bent if you said they're difficult to relate to. I don't know, maybe my passion for this sort of thing is taking over a little here. Regardless, they've been blowing out cobwebs in the hardest to reach areas of my cranium. So much so they've inspired me to start writing my own music again. These fingers of mine that type this are slowly coming to life again. The muscles memory has been laying dormant for a while and they're sure has hell starting to remember what to do. My voice on the other hand... It's knackered since I gave up smoking... Yeah go figure?!

Anyway, a photographers blog talking about music... Where's it going you may be asking (Don't worry, I'm asking the same while typing) I do have a point. Well kinda. More of a vision. Or goal. I dunno... Goal... Nah, fuck that. Let's call it a promise. More to my self than anyone else. I'll get to that in a round about way later. But first a few more flouncy paragraphs. 

This music I speak of. Whether it's from the origins of blues way back when in the nineteen twenties or even a little later closer to current day. They all have a point. They all have a hidden meaning or some form of current emotion running through them. I think that prevents them from being just a throw away song. A song to hold and cherish. Like words of advice from a departed grandparent almost. They tell stories from triumph to failure. That's the sort of shit I'm aiming for with my creative processes from now on. It clicked a few days while I was archiving some old stuff. I've fallen victim to just making throw away shit thats neither here nor there to me. I'm sure you have it in some form or other. Like a pair of old jeans that live at the back of your drawer. They're old. They don't fit or they're not to your taste any more. They hold no significant meaning. They're not a gift. Hold zero sentimental value. They're just a cheap pair of shite jeans you bought in a rush one day. Now they just live at the back of your drawer doing dick all. That's how I feel about a lot of the stuff on my hard drives. Just mountains of meaningless shite. Yeah they're kinda cool in a way cause they hold a form of memory of a trip somewhere but that memory is better in your head. Clearer. More meaningful. I need something solid. Something that's obvious to why its there. The great William Elliott Whitmore explains it well when talking about wooden boards his father had damaged while shooting a snake.

I'm a hoarder by nature. Rather than tidy I'll just put a few old things in different boxes and hide them some place new and feel like I've accomplished something doing so. Some stuff I'll keep to monitor progression in whatever it is that I've done but mainly I'll have no problem in keeping stuff that's a bit naff. Let's take music for instance. Photography aside, music is a huge love for me. Gigging was once a great past time of mine. A way of life. Almost a career. I gave it up when I first moved in with Abi as making a home with her was much more important. Being out till the early hours while she was home alone quickly lost it's appeal. There are so many books on my desk filled with chicken scratches. Song after song after song of meaningless drivel. Writing about politics, corporations and environmental problems was always my main focus. However, every now and then a song about life as we live it would crop up. Songs about lost friends, relatives who have passed and the pains/joys of love. These were the songs I'd never release as they were too personal. They'd be considered out of character along side all of the other Social Justice Warrior bollocks. In hindsight they were the best. They told stories. Showed emotions without shame. Engaged with people. Had some fuckin soul.

The promise I mentioned earlier is something of an inner mantra from now on. Whether it's writing music or taking photos. Do something with them. If they're not worth anything, don't keep them. Don't even bother putting pen to paper or pushing the shutter button. If it has any meaning and is lost in the moment, let it live on in your head. As yours. Enjoy it. 

What I'm trying to say whether its writing music or taking a photo I want it to get deep under your skin. To trigger an emotion deep within you. It could be a photo of you and a relative who has recently had some form of life threatening surgery. Yeah the angle of the pic may not be all that great and its only the back of your head in it but that person you cherish. They're in full view and smiling. Suddenly you realise that the things I described about you in the shot don't even matter. What matters is the fact that moment is cemented in history. Yours to look at in years to come. To relive the memory. To enjoy the times. Remember the fucked up shit prior to that moment and appreciate the good, the bad and all in between. 

Whether it's personal stuff or stuff for work. I want to create something like the artists who experienced the heartfelt moments in life enough to sing about. The photographers who witnessed all the harrowing shit behind their subjects eyes. I wanna give all my work a reason to keep.

Going back to music thing again. All of my instruments have some form of sentimental value to them. Be it the pieces of fabric that are tied to the heads, grave stone quotes, stickers of my favourite artist or just all the memories I have had with them playing shows or house parties.

Thats what I want from my work. Portraiture especially. 

On that note I have a few shoots in the works at the moment with some awesome couples. Hopefully, if all goes to plan I'll have a few cool lifestyle shoots coming up with some good chances to shoot more portraiture. These will be hit full force with my new attitude. There is also some down time approaching soon so feel free to leave a comment below. Is there something you'd like to see me do? A shoot you'd like me to be involved in? Hell, I may regret this but set me a challenge maybe?!

For now though, I'm gonna try and finish off something I've been working on using my banjo. I managed to pull it out over the past few days. Things fucked, the neck has been glued back together after snapping a few years ago during a disagreement with a duvet. I'm always wary that its gonna ping one day and take my hand with it!

Remember...

GIVE IT SOME FUCKIN SOUL!