27 May 2014

Life changes and photography

I was tagging some photos from the past on my Flickr page and saw this shot I took of my neighbors as they celebrated their success in the chamber of commerce voting in Bondi Junction. It was only two years ago when the voting took place and they were elected a very successful operation in the area. The ladies gathered in front of the sign, like a red carpet gala, and I shot the picture. All good.

The hair salon continues now in a new location about 100 metres from the old one, and is even bigger and has continual clientele. Only what struck me was the staff is-- with one exception-- completely new. Only the owner/ operator continues (she's in the middle) and the others have moved on. Now I understand that society is more mobile than when I was a child, but 80% turnover in 24 months?  Is that normal and if so, what are the implications?

The Murray (River) Pioneer in March this year published a fairly dull editorial which however included this sentiment, "Take Zombie movies, for example (because we’re going to need all the training we can get when the apocalypse rocks up). They show – the writers’ interpretation of – how people put in such an extreme situation would change. They’d change the way they think, the way they act, the way they react and what they believe in. They’d find a way to carry on.
If we each looked back a year, we could see that there were people in our lives who have since moved away, or become less prominent in our day-to-day activities.
That’s not a reflection on you or them, it’s just life.
In high school there’s a certain stability, an expectation that you will see the same people every day, for years. And when it came to the final few days of school we all made promises that we would always keep in touch – promises we eventually broke, at least with some of our classmates." (Murray Pioneer, "When people move out of our lives", March 26, 2014)

Sorry for the length of that quote; I felt it needed context. The issue of the in/out nature of people and our lives is complexifying, not simplifying life for us all. 

My friend Mark McCrindle lives and works in Sydney. Mark's website . He is the senior researcher and guide on so many trends and perspectives in the social world that he's the go-to guy for most Australian television networks and radio outlets. He is constantly demonstrating statistics of the mobility of society and thus the need for people to adjust from 'we all know this' kind of conversation to a more initiating and welcoming concern. 

I like Mark and appreciate all his hard work and the reality of life changes continues to strike me. People change; situations change; interactions continue to change. Life is only static for a person when he is buried. On the golf course some of the men with whom I play have this saying when asked about their life. "At least I'm walking on top of the ground, and not parked underneath it." Makes sense that if we are on top, that things will ever evolve and amend and grow and change. "That's life!"

That said, why do we hold on so dearly to things as if they do not change or do not have to change? Why are we surprised when people tell us their child is 15 years old now? Our surprise is usually based on our own thinking that we have not aged, why would anything else age? We are surprised when we see a new photo of a former dashing young Hollywood celebrity who hasn't aged very well at all. Because we see the images of that person on film or television when they were 25 and now they are near 45, and the film didn't age, we think the person shouldn't have either. 

When the Amish or ultra-Orthodox Jewish person turns away from a photographer, it's because of a desire to keep (and help you keep) the 3rd commandment (out of 10). That's this one:  "You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth." (Exodus 20.4) The locations of the photo shoots are limited to nowhere, neither in heaven above or on earth or under the earth. Fairly comprehensive. Of course, the God who told us that, also told us to "let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I am going to show you," and included in that building (Mishkan) were angels (Exodus 25), almond blossoms and branches (Ex. 25). Later on in the Temple of Solomon God wanted a building which included images of Cherubim and twelve bulls outwardly displayed(1 Kings 6:24–29; 2 Chronicles 4:15). 

Obviously as Francis Schaeffer rightly commented in "Art and the Bible", the use of images did not necessarily mean the Israelites were worshiping them. Having an image is not idolatry. But bowing and worshiping it; that's idolatry. So I continue to photograph the ladies at Headoffice Hair Salon over the years Hair salon photos and each time I see a new crew I'm reminded...make the most of today. Help people in my life today. They may not be there tomorrow. Or I may not be. Life changes. Make the best of it.

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