I have been dwelling discreetly in silence, noticing that I often have been bitching about analog film prices. It then occurred to me, that there might be more to it, without that i have been able to identify the source behind... ?

I suspect that my ego is behind - me putting too much effort in sour thoughts and anger about e.g. today's prices on traditional photo graphical material such as analog film, paper and chemistry, has been accelerating at a pace never seen before...

It just made me so irritated. "Like a fear of loosing out on something important". Symbolically, that kind of thinking, smells like a (psychological) trap. Like a portal, you feed too much with energy - is sucking oyu in instead (though whatever area of interest, for other people). We all have triggers - and quite often fail to realize it, when it appears.

It's not a big thing really, but I wanted to know, what keeps me in a "spell" - while I am pouring bitching comments about steeply rising film prices. It's just I do that quite often lately - so there is always more to it than the eye sees.

I was wondering, why I focused on it so much. Without even asking myself... does it truly affect me ? How much photography the old fashioned way do I really do ? It shows, that I don't really do much at all... For example I put a pesky roll of Fujicolor C200 into my Hasselblad XPan (giving 19 exposures). It's still in there after 3 weeks, albeit I have had with me that camera every night at work...

So, I am really not pulling though a lot of film in my cameras. So, why the anger ? Why the bitching ? Why the obsession ? I ask myself these things, not because their are "worthless" or uninteresting" to ask - but because I can sense when something that gets to you disproportionately, there is often something else behind.

It can be as simple, as ones ego taking over the wise guy who dwells deeper down (and we/I) fail to listen to, because when an Ego is loud, we mainly listen to our angry ego, our thoughts, our upsettings. Instead of puncturing that energy, by looking though the veil, through the deceptions - that... there is nothing. It's just a ghost. A chimera.

While I don't think the extreme price increases on film as of lately are natural - I can't do anything about it, other than look around within my own life, and determine if it affects me or not. The argument of "well then shoot digital" i don't consider to be valid, because it is like comparing apples with oranges.

Digital is digital. OK. Fine. But to use older cameras, you have to use analog film material. End of the story. One does not replace the other, even if they overlap in the end result; a photograph. An Image.

I thought yesterday, while doing kitchen stuff - and it was really just a tiny flash of thought - that if I pay let's say 25 Euro for a roll of 35mm film, putting it into my Leica M6... then that isn't the end of the world. Since I am not really paint brushing with a Leica M6, because I often make just a few images at the time, when I feel the motive is noteworthy...

Then a roll of 36 images does last quite a long time. And 25 € isn't the end of the world, if the user (me) enjoys to take analog images.

 

I believe the trigger in me, is an older one. For a very long time in my life, buying like 100 rolls of film and more, often was a sort of "security feeling". Almost like a surrogate. I had times in my life, with barely any food, but hundred of rolls of film in my freezer and fridge. Since the end of the 80s basically.

Now, I can't do that, because if I would... 100 rolls of film would cost me something like 2000+ € equivalent to the price of a good camera, today. And more than what I once paid for a Leica M6 back in 1989.

But then today in 2022, it isn't necessary for me to buy 100 rolls of film either. I mean, I just don't pull that amount of film though. Back in the 90s, i pulled though around 500 films a year (!). Today that alone would cost 10.000 €.

So, it is the ego that is at work in the core. The desire to own, to have, to keep... but what about life ? Quality ? And being present ? When the mind constantly focuses on bitching about extreme prices, or putting too much effort into trying to hamster lots of film, just because... well you want it... what kind of quality is that ? Does it do anything for your quality of life, Ralf ? I don't think so. On the contrary, it distracts my focus on living, on being, and dynamically being aligned with what happens now, here and in between people.

So, the whole subjects about extreme film prices - "the objects of my desire" - is a non subjects. OF course it is a non subject for you, because you are not into analog photography - so case solved. But you can replace that with something else that is very important for your ego, in your life - and it might do the same stupid spell on you, as film prices have on me ?

That constant conditioning of our ego, resulting into this feeling of "not having enough". You know, kind of like a pre-emergency state of mind, which keeps you alert... but alter onto the wrong things in life ?

It is possible.

Long story for something small, and yet something that so easily can trap the mind of men. When the ego sneaks up from behind, or we take it as something so normal, that we don't even realize how often it takes over our thinking, and in that our feelings, and in the prolonging, also our actions, as well how we are towards other people.

I like awareness. And i love to capture those little wise "flashes" in me, which makes me aware of these things. I accept (acknowledge) my ego for what it is - but that doesn't mean I approve of everything it tells me to do without me even realizing how it tinkers with me.

These are the little things in between life situation, in which I have the responsibility, to learn, to realize and to grow. Not because I have to, but because I love to. I've always appreciate the silent qualities of my wiser part, deep inside buried among the chaos of my ego and personality. Therefore it is also my responsibility, to make sure to listen to what speaks wisdom in silence.

This is also how one can make wiser choices, and skip the ego bullshit, the excuses to validate my thinking or actions. My ego simply doesn't need so much presence in my life, as it often has done in the past, steering my decisions, because I let it - because I didn't know nor identified it better.

One of the wonderful perks of getting older - i feel is - that appearances in life, including my own ones, are more clear to me, what comes from what. To see, feel and sense - and understand - when I do something form love, or fear combined with ego.

It doesn't have to be a big thing - it is often more of an undramatic, inner revelation - which shows me, what my actions are made of in the deepest core. To understand where my words or arguments truly come from. The kind of insight, which gentle pulls aside the veil which didn't let me know, why I did or said in the past.

I've always been one hell of a curious and complex kind of guy... I am sure, that's also been the reasons I didn't do well in relationships. In fact, I didn't do well at all in that department. People saw totally different things in me - but not me.

With one exception: Sal.

But then he is also one of a kind - which anyone who ever met and interacted with him, will confirm. That's also why I understood very early in our relationship; this man is for all - and not "mine" to own. The sharing aspect felt very importing. I don't know how to say this: but when you love somebody so deeply, and you feel that immense freedom and joy at the same time, you want to let him free, and share it to the world. You don't want to own such a person (which we know how that often goes, when one part is extremely jealous, it always ends up in that the other seeks his freedom, more than ever).

It is perhaps also because Sal, when I met him, was a father to two daughters, was a husband to a wonderful woman, and friends with hundreds of his students, and done many things in life in the US and in Europe. You don't tie down a being and call him "yours", as in "owning", "keeping", "holding" him/her. You travel with him, together, because both want it - but you do not keep him/her from traveling if that is what he/she wants. Because when you do... it accumulates this weird sensation of guilt, to stop others from doing what they want to do. And you know deep down, you can't prevent it. You may have an opinion about it - that is free and fine - but you cannot truly prevent a traveler from traveling, if that is the outermost goal. I am not saying this like "flower power, everyone is free and does anything they want". It is not that sloppy kind of attitude I meant. Instead I mean it in a sense of awareness - of being awake, being able to see and understand underpinnings.

Sometimes I believe we do many things in life, creating or empathizing conditions which literally fuel the very things we do not want - but because of our obsession or too strong focus in hindering/manipulating others - we achieve the opposite of what we really yearn, long or wish for.

In all, it requires to be open, honest and aware. Without communication by heart.... Let's face it, things go often into the bin. Projections, excuses, avoidance, platitudes and shallow talk... works well in a drag show... but not so well in relationships (It sounds boring, but I don't mean that "talking all the time", is the key in a relationship. you can have silly fun and do shallow stuff - no problem. But now and then, you need that connection between two hearts. Sometimes it needs to get re-established, reminded, and activated). It creates a balance in a good relationship. Nobody can live on only drag-show performances in life.

I am still not sure if I hit the right words, but I let it stand here "as it is".


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