A lack of pictures. The first thing that seems to go when big changes come along is my will to take photographs. For those who have followed, writing then takes a dip too. All with severe introspection, out of wanting to re-centre myself, as if I needed to know where I was and have predictable states of being in order to express coherently and how I wish to. I can say that Lima’s been a bit disorienting, that I’ve struggled with having to define what I truly want to get out of this new experience, that the sun rarely shines through the grey winter fog, all the while I enthusiastically absorb, track, chase after what it has to offer, lately often into the waking hours of the next day, challenged by this capital’s relentless energy.
But what’s so disorienting? In principle, I could be up to the purest state of mischief and use photography and writing to find my centre at the core. Carrying out my research project should provide the basic sense of purpose that can support the rest of my existential investigations; needing to achieve the latter in order to allow the former is unrealistic. Having to freely experience, dejarse llevar, is just laziness at this point.
Being creative takes work
As a mentor of mine once shared. I believe that too many of us hand off our sense of attention to distraction out of supposed indecision and a requirement for dependable cerebrality, starting with me first, taunted by our networked machines, but it’s actually lack of training. Creative people are relentless and incredibly disciplined at keeping their mind in a state of invention. This was made evident to me once again on Wednesday in a sports coliseum filled with 4,000 students who came out to see Catalan chef Ferran Adrià (elBulli) give a free talk.
The qualities which accompany this man are immediately palpable, even at considerable distance: passionate, alert, driven, intense, interested, curious, crafty, human, sincere and genuinely caring. He speaks with patience, with an interest to share, empower and motivate, grounding you with what you should know when needed, whilst inspiring you to admit that in your search for knowledge, the more you know, the more aware you should be of what you don’t. After a 30 minute scripted presentation, he took questions for 1 hour and offered to make his next visit a 5 to 6 hour marathon. Some more observations about chef Adrià:
+ His dedication to what he does and who he is depends on exploring meaning and dimensionality in his surroundings, with the kitchen being where he gets the biggest itch. There are no constants other than relentlessly achieving discovery or recovering previous novelty.
+ He is committed to a life that revels in the unknown while only accepting to have set precedent when having actually understood what he has done.
+ To have passion means looking for meaning and explanation and in turn these are made possible by passion. How can you create experiences without knowledge and commitment to what excites you internally?
+ He uses comparison to inform his process, reveal limitations and unravel new options. Why have we gone so far with one ingredient and not with others, what can we extend across ritually perceived barriers?
+ Realizing true expression depends on you being committed to your own potential by giving your creativity constance, rigour, technique, history and fraternal trust.
+ When you believe in what you do, when you back it up with what can be known, when the spine of your discipline is enjoyment, your sole purpose can then be the undiscovered. What a diverse world we are lucky to live in should we choose to enjoy it, do we not share a collective responsibility to celebrate it, open it to others and conserve it, especially if we’ve had the good sense of nurturing a talent?
I recently finished Anthony Bourdain’s popular Kitchen Confidential and then watched the episode of “No Reservations” at elBulli in its last weeks before it closed for good at the end of this summer. You should give it a watch if you’re curious about why Adrià has garnered such fame and inspires so much thought. I am really grateful to have spent time in restaurants, even as a mere floor monkey. Professional kitchens are one place where you see what kind of disciplined backbone and ability to rise above mental muck is needed to truly be creative.
In these next few months that I spend tied down to Lima, I can’t promise you images that speak much of national Peruvian diversity, but I will attempt to give you inspired photography out of the city. Talk of cuisine to feed a pursuit of meaningful imagery. I still have yet to tell you about my two week exception to eating from the sea again that I made to better understand how people live from their ocean here. Ahora, viernes. Mañana foto, y con pasión.