On Sunday, I had the pleasure of joining two high school photography teachers on their trip to the Getty Museum in Los Angles. Joan teaches in East LA and Kelly is a teacher in Vista, CA. Prior to teaching, Joan worked at the Getty. And, one of Kelly’s favorite photographers, Josef Koudelka, was on exhibit. Needless to say, the experience was magical.
We visited Koudelka’s all black and white exhibit, Nationality Doubtful, first. Best known for his dangerous capture of photos during the Warsaw Pact invasion, I was most mesmerized by his photos of the Roma Gypsies. We discussed how the photographs were evidence of the gypsies’ acceptance of Koudelka. The people were so real, so raw; I have never seen anything like it.
Experiencing the museum through the eyes of Kelly and Joan was effortless and enlightening. After the Koudelka exhibit, Joan showed us through the garden and we had a lovely outdoor lunch. Then we (they) sketched a naked male statue and we walked around the rest of the incredibly modern, breathtaking museum.
With some life-changing shifts fast approaching (obviously a future post to come), the opportunity to view Picasso’s Femme was just what I needed. I love Picasso because his work reminds me there are multiple valid interpretations and expressions for what we experience and see. It also teaches me that some people don’t understand nor enjoy other people’s bold expressions, expressions that other people find beautiful and unique.
My previous thought arose in conjunction with the photo featured above. I love the innocence of this kid looking at me like, “WTF?”. I feel you, kid! What’s going on? I love taking yoga photos everywhere I go; it’s my kinetic way of capturing a moment. But, one armed handstands are not the standard performance of a museum goer and disturbed looks are something I have to accept if I choose that expression as my museum going performance.
Choice is our most powerful tool. We can make the decision to hold ourselves back, to play our normative, subscribed societal role OR we can select our own expression (regardless of what a other people think and as long as it is not hurting anyone).
I often experience moments of fear and self-doubt when I stray from the “path”; but, surrounding myself with people like Kelly and Joan, who appreciate my vision, my story, allows me to live from my weird, authentic place and from my heart.
The first quote I read at the Getty was Henry David Thoreau’s: “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” And I would like to leave you and myself with those words. Cultivating the capacity to see things for ourselves will ultimately be our greatest gift to humanity.