Connecting with people

Posted by on Aug 8, 2016 in Letters | 6 Comments

Today morning, I was listening podcast from LensWork entitled Mannequins and Abandoned Places. If you do any, a bit more serious photography then your summer holiday, you should certainly listen to it. Somewhere in the second half of it, I started to realize what is the answer to my own question. The question  I posted in the comment to my earlier letter to you.

The question

I was asking: “Why I do care if other people express what they think about my photography”.Richard Vanek

As I listened more and more to the podcast, I realize that not only my photography and this blog is influenced by it. It seems as most of my life is. Many things started to fall into the place.
In any case, I feel it now, as the important discovery about myself.

I believe that  reason why, I do care if other people express what they think about my photography, is because I want to connect with them.

There is more

As I was thinking more about it, I also realized, that for the same reason, I love to teach. Teaching is a perfect way to connect with people! There is more, what I do, what I choose, which this reasons perfectly explains. Connecting with people seems as the driving force for my recent life.

I am not going to write more about this. Not going to search for reasons why this “connecting with people” is so important to me. Why, do I write these letters to you, my anonymous friend. I am glad I have discovered this. It explains a lot about my behaviour and my unconscious choices.


  1. Paul
    Tue, 9. August , 2016

    Forgive me, Richo, but the attempt at connecting with others seems like an obvious insight. This is not something unique to you but certainly something every artist desires, ultimately (in varying degrees). I think Iurie’s question on your previous post was less “why do you care what people think” and more “why do you care so much”. which is a thought that I have had before. Forgive me, Iurie, if I’m misinterpreting the meaning behind your question. Regardless, even if that is not Iurie`s question, it is mine.

    The reason I ask this Richo, is because I sense sometimes that this strong need for connection may also be holding you back from producing art to your full capabilities. But I may just be projecting my own thoughts about my own artmaking (and lack of it) upon you, so don’t take offence at anything I’m saying if it comes across as insolent or presumptuous. It`s just an honest question that I think is worthy of being reflected upon, and it comes up at a time when I`ve been reflecting on this and other similar issues for myself as I struggle with the place artmaking/creating has in my life, and its importance to my happiness.

    Ultimately, an artists purpose is to create art. Anything that helps in that endeavour needs to be encouraged, and anything that hinders us needs to be excised (as much as possible, anyway. some things are beyond our control.). So, what I’m trying to ask (in a way that I could probably express more clearly if I were more awake right now) is this: I wonder if this strength of your need for connecting with others, and how it manifests itself in your life, is ultimately a positive or a negative for your art? That is the question I have often had in my mind concerning you (and a question for myself that I`ve been exploring).

    • Richard Vanek
      Wed, 10. August , 2016

      I agree it may not be unique and certainly, it may be obvious. It was not obvious to me. When I heard it in that podcast I was actually surprised how it felt natural to me. I never thought about it before that I may want to connect with people.
      Why do I care so much? I do not know, I wonder what would have any meaning in our lives if we didn’t do or care for others? This sounds like a cliche, but I can’t find a better answer. If it is not that then I do not know. I care so much because I want to connect to them so much?

      I do not know if you are right. When I am making images or thinking and looking around in a process of making them, I do not care about people nor so I feel need to connect. I am very selfish in those moments.

      Once I finish something I do care. I want to hear what others think, see, feel.

      Paul, you are very kind. I do not believe that I am creating any art. I didn’t make a decent image in more than six years. I think I just simply feel alone and trying not to be. I try to convince Dirk to do more photography together, Jeff and you to have a common web page, I gave up on Jacco as I feel he is not very comfortable with me asking him all the time something. I possibly lost today a friend, just because I was maybe too direct in saying something I could just skip.
      And so it goes, not many people left. Older I become worse it is in this regard. And yes I maybe shouldn’t write it here.

      So you tell me, does this attempt for connecting doing any good to me?

  2. JPH
    Wed, 10. August , 2016

    I am glad that your listening to the podcast gave you a personal revelation… that’s a nice one to have. I hope to attain, discover, find, such a revelation for myself in my wanderings now… a reason for being, doing, etc.

    When Iurie made that comment you refer to, I also had the exact same question, again, as it is one that I have posed to you more than once or twice… my explanation and thinking to you, pretty much mirroring what Paul said above… in, do your own thing, do and create what matters to you and that you feel like creating, and screw us all, and what we think.

    I don’t recall how you answered me eons ago when I told you that, but whatever it was, I guess it satisfied me, that Iurie asked this recent time, and not me again.

    I am probably going to fall in that same camp as Jacco, in you feeling not to keep asking me too, as I have pretty much avoided really answering you on the whole group website thing you bring up… as I just don’t feel as strongly about doing so as you do. Be it, my just being selfish… and/or just frankly not interested in partaking in such an endeavor.

    I don’t know, Richard, maybe if we were actually on the same side of the globe, lived near each other and actually physically able to see, interact, talk, do things together, my feelings would be completely different and would be all gung-ho, and completely aboard with it. But, as we are not, I just see it as a short lived endeavor of people scattered about the globe trying to be on the same page with something that we all are not.

    I am with you though to some degree in wanting to hear, know what others may think of the work I produce, either way – good or bad… but, have just long ago dealt with the fact that no one ever sees my work, and/or doesn’t take the time to share their thoughts, and/or is just not their cup of tea, that I have just given up, and just simply continued to create the stuff that I feel like creating even more… doesn’t matter anyway, it’s just pretty much for me anyway.

    So, I don’t think it’s wrong to wonder what others think… it’s only natural… just as I commented before, and Paul echoed above, only line I draw is if it hobbles you, us, in our creativity in that trying to create for others. Which I totally don’t poo-poo, because there is a smidgen in good in being open in one’s creativity… just that fine line though of doing so too much for something outside of what you are personally wanting to create it for originally.

    That last question posed by you, in your reply to Paul, only you can answer that.

    Sorry, for another longish comment reply… just letting as much out when I have the time (and wifi) to connect and do so, for who knows when I will be able to again. ?

  3. Paul
    Wed, 10. August , 2016

    Richo, you may not be satisfied with your art, but you are of course an artist, and you are creating art. You may judge it to be bad or unsuccessful art, but it is still art. And ‘simply being alone and not wanting to be’ sounds to me like it’s probably the impetus behind the creation of much of the art in the world!

    What matters, in the end, is how you feel about yourself and your work, and what you are getting from both producing it and from presenting it to others. You often seem to be terribly disappointed by the (sometime) lack of reaction to your work, and I wondered the effect that has on you. I guess that’s why I wondered if you were being held back by this need. Ultimately, only you could truly know what is helpful for you and what is not.

    It’s unfortunate we live so far away from one another, I would certainly enjoy doing photography with you. I’m not averse to doing a common web page, I just don’t see the point in expending my finite energy toward displaying work, rather than creating it. It’s creating new work that I’m interested in.

    Anyway, I don’t want to bore you or your visitors any longer, but if you wish to carry on the conversation, or talk about something else, of course feel free to email me, as always.

  4. Richard Vanek
    Thu, 11. August , 2016

    Thank you both Paul and Jeff, for your points of view. I must agree this is a sort of conversation which should be carried by some other means. I also agree with you that this place (meaning this website) should be for some other purpose.
    On another hand, what always attracted me to Dave Beckerman’s work (in years 2000-2006) was his open and honest way he wrote about himself and his daily life.

  5. JPH
    Thu, 11. August , 2016

    Richard, it’s a variation on the same theme – who cares what YOU bloody feel to post on YOUR bloody website?! It’s YOUR bloody website! That’s the point of one having their own website – they can fill it’s content with whatever the bloody hell they want! What any other purpose would your website be for?!

    And do you think, just like I used to with Dave’s site (he seems to have gone solely Facebook now or something, sadly, and haven’t had the pleasure of following him for a solid year or two), was that we like visiting your sites, because of not only the photographic work (we’re all not that shallow, and are a little deeper and substantive of people ? ), but also for what it is you share?!

    Sorry, but just have to laugh at you for your sometimes persistent seeming to apologize for doing what it is you do and put (and how and what people may think of it), on your own bloody website. ? Goes back to your whole bloody point of wanting to connect to and with people – well, don’t apologize for it when you are doing so then! ?


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