to be rich with meaning…
“I spend a lot of time in the stacks in the libraries, looking at these stacks of unreadable masterpieces that men devoted their lives to, standing on the shoulders of geniuses before them — Bertrand Russell, ‘Principia Mathematica’ and all these things — who will read those? How will they change society? How do they really factor into things? Me? I was able to contribute with a lot of tricks. Those tricks now have names and those tricks factor into what everybody else does. In a very meaningful way I have helped create a vocabulary by which this community communicates. I mean you’ll hear people chat and listen to how skaters talk and the words and expressions…things that we created, it’s our language, but it’s also physical and it helps define us as individuals and how we fit within that framework and it helps define our community itself. And so, when I look and think of the contribution of all these geniuses and the smell and the browning paper of these dusty books that no one will read I think I am so rich in that what I have done has meaning.”
- Rodney Mullen, ‘Bones Brigade: An Autobiography’
to be rich with meaning - that is what i want. that is what is my drive and fuel. that is the core force that stirs me to push myself into the dark abyss of the uncomfortable, to push through that curtain, to fight the fatigue, and to seek the answers that lie under the cold wet heavy stones.
i want my work to be rich with meaning. and perhaps the photographs that i have created will turn brown and forgotten - but i will know when i close my eyes that i did all that i possibly could, that my work was genuine and it was visceral, and authentic…and that i exhausted my very soul.
…to be rich with meaning. yeah, that is what i want.
the quote above is by Rodney Mullen, a pioneer in the skateboarding community and an OG member of the Bones Brigade. many can directly thank him for what the skating has become today. if you haven’t seen the documentary ‘Bones Brigade’ stop whatever you are doing and turn on Netflix - NOW.
and my photo: this was taken from a helicopter during my recent visit to southern Chile. it is a detail of a glacier that sits on the top of the volcano Osorno.
this image really speaks to me.
to be rich with meaning…
so says Richard Branson.
the dude is a genius.
he is a visionary, a forward thinker, and literally changes the world.
and i embrace this fully.
after reading of his vision of the new Virgin Money Banking (read below) it made me realize how right he is. how many times i have sat on the cold side of a ticket booth where glass separated me from the entire company behind the window, where interactions where reduced to flickering fingertips, pushing paper, talking into a literal whole in the wall….and WHY??? why did this become the business standard? why when i go snowboarding do i have to set my board to the side of the building, remove my mittens and perform this dehumanizing ritual before i am graced by god’s country? what is the threat of me and the line behind me? the skiers have poles? so odd. it is intriguing to know the roots behind the man in the glass booth.
take a sledge hammer to conformity Richard Bronson
(in his words) “Spent time in Washington DC earlier this week at the BAI conference and did a small question and answer session with a number of leading bankers before my main talk on stage. They asked me all sorts of questions, from how best to motivate and manage people, through to why did Virgin get involved in banking in the first place. A few in the room thought it was a very un-Virgin industry to be in - too staid and boring. I explained that’s just why we wanted to get into it: our way of doing things can create a real difference for customers and staff.
One of the more thought provoking questions was regarding the role the branch network has in today’s fast-moving world of internet banking and new technology. In the UK we acquired 75 Virgin Money branches with the acquisition of Northern Rock. While many in the room were unsure of the long-term position of the branch or bank, I said I thought it was a key part of our promise to make banking more personal and trusted.
Traditional banks have a transactional in and out model, which does not help create feelings of trust and good communication. We want people to stay, linger and enjoy being part of our club - both customers and community. The Lounges are about building relationships with customers - destinations customers want to spend time in rather than a cold, functional and transactional place you have to go to and can’t wait to leave.
I have said before how I took a sledgehammer to the glass screens in our ticket offices at Virgin Trains - as I did not want our customers and staff separated in that way. In our banks you do need security measures for some transactions but there is no reason why the majority of services can’t be done face to face, with a human touch.
We have introduced Virgin Money Lounges in Edinburgh, Norwich and Manchester - where you can check your emails, read the paper and have a cup of coffee. We want our customers to feel special and so we have started to look at how we can make these lounges feel more like our airline clubhouses.
That is not to say new technology doesn’t have an important role (quite obviously, as I am blogging about this on LinkedIn!) However, it can be in conjunction with human conversations. While many people do a lot of their banking online, I believe personal interaction has a key place in banking - and business for that matter - today. Getting rid of branches completely would be a back step in the wrong direction.”
makes you actually consider working for a bank. :)
(composite image created in PS)
“and do you dream?” said the daemon.
“my heart was fashioned to be susceptible of love and sympathy; and when wrenched by misery to vice and hatred it did not endure the violence of the change without torture such as you cannot even imagine…evil thenceforth became my good.”
- excerpt from mary shelly’s classic, frankenstein.
this is my interpretation of that beautiful and haunting story.
this also became my “little engine that could”…and that isn’t going to - at least not right now.
i have wanted to retell the tale of frankenstein for a long time. to bring a contemporary light to the classic story by Mary Shelly, a beautifully eloquent and moving story - a story that hollywood horribly botched. i wanted to show others that the monster was not a bumbling flat headed mute idiot with bolts in his neck, but that he was created by the hand of man, born with a child’s innocence, and moved by a delicate heart. he spoke with an educated and eloquent tongue and leaped upon the jagged rocks with inhuman strength and agility…yes he was a freak of nature, and one of the coolest that has ever come to the imagination.
but there’s more to this tale. it is an incredible story that poses intriguing themes and questions (passion, pride and fame, science and progress, the relentless search for knowledge and truth - and to what cost? blind self destruction, prejudice, ignorance, fear, selfishness, abandonment, love, innocence, ignorance, hatred, revenge, acceptance and understanding.)
more than any other book, when i read these pages imagery flooded my mind. this story really spoke to me….and perhaps one day i will revisit and finish my vision of frankenstein. but for the time being, i need to put my personal monster to rest.
i have always been intrigued with darkness and suffering, (look at my most personal work and you will see) and i simply feel i have fed this side too long.
i want to visit the lighter shades of grey, of peace and joy and laughter. to experience healing and growth and new challenges. it’s time to reach in and find my other self.
- and so i share with you what has been troubling my heart and mind for quite some time, my frankenstein, my little engine that could.
goodbye for now my frankenstein.
an old cherokee legend:
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. ”It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
crossing fingers. just entered “sleep is the cousin to death” into a competition!
#sleepisthecousintodeath portraits personal work
“i looked outside my window and what do you think i saw?
the strangest sight i’ve ever did see, i bet you don’t know just quite what i mean,
still can’t believe it myself
i saw one buffalo, one buffalo,
buffalo on my lawn,
romping all around and stomping on the ground
and all of my grass was gone.
then i began to worry, about what to do?
the strangest sight i ever did see, i guess you’ve guessed just what i mean.
still can’t believe it myself
i saw 2 buffalos, 2 buffalos,
buffalos on my lawn
romping all around and stomping on the ground and
and all of my grass was gone.”
today my dad visited and brought the buffalo with him.
above is a song that i will always remember my dad singing to me as a kid.
i have a goofy dad, and he fed me with goofy things.
and as a result, i turned up a bit goofy as well…still can’t believe it myself.
love you dad.