So many journeys begin with this very idea. A newness. Something pure, leaving all past regrets and failures behind. Riding on hope where possibilities are endless. It’s what we call a “fresh start.”
As human beings (particularly in the consumer culture), we love new. A new item or clothing is exhilarating. Eagerly waiting to tear the delicately-wrapped tissue from the colorful paper bag. Maybe for a special occasion or just because. For a few precious moments in time, it brightens your day.
These small occurrences are fleeting, but some stay with you forever. Like fresh starts.
I have been thinking about this as I approach a new beginning. I have written in countless emails to friends, “I am excited for a new adventure in a new place.” The combination of the two is kind of remarkable. It led me to ask the question, “How many times do we get these?”
The most significant fresh starts are rare (I am not talking about New Year’s here), mostly taking place in the earlier parts of life. Maybe a big cross-country move in lower school. Going to college. The new city after graduation. If the path follows like most typical people, maybe another few moves during family life. But that’s it.
One big fresh start left before my post-grad move. I can feel the time slipping away and the ‘truly uncovering yourself’ deadline coming. This next year holds many opportunities to become closer to the person I want to be. To make a few mistakes. To learn from those before I run out of fresh starts.
So I vow to make this one count. To squeeze every bit out of this fresh start. To set goals. To take chances. To just be, when necessary. To accept the things I can’t change. To grow.
Because no matter how untethered a fresh start feels, there is always knowledge and experience from the past that precipitates this mindset. It is a blessing, not a curse of baggage. And finally, with each step hopefully comes gratitude for this priceless moment of novelty.
As my girl Eleanor Roosevelt said, “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
For my visual arts management class, I was given $100 to buy a piece of art. It sounds simple, but it is definitely not. The task brought me much agony. As an idealistic perfectionist (scary combination, I know), I wanted the exact piece of art that would capture my opinion and belief of art in this particular moment in time. I wanted the work to show that I had learned something from a semester’s worth of exposure to the art market while functioning as a beautiful part of my world.
In the end, I purchased “Mary Kate” a silver gelatin print by Lauren Martinez, a classmate of mine, that I am utterly in love with (see below). I chose this piece for a variety of reasons, making it a holistic purchase.
When I visited the International Center for Photography in New York, I began to look at photography in a new way. I always liked the ability to expose but also manipulate reality through photography production. These processes have become commonplace in the digital age (dare I say too common), but there is something so unique about hand processing that can’t be replicated by a computer. I love how you can see the imperfections in Lauren’s process; it makes it real. It is reminiscent of Picasso’s works where paint application and visible mistakes are integral elements in themselves.
I tend to gravitate toward editorial images, and this is no exception. It’s the fashionista in me! The work exudes old glamour, particularly in the black and white setting and Mary Kate’s lace dress and stilettos. Upon initial impression, I was transported to that imaginary surrounding scene, like a 1940s jazz club with lux velvet, studded banquets and plush curtains. In terms of subject matter, the ironic objectification of the body spoke to me. Our society looks at women for their exteriors (“does she have the whole package?”) yet also picks apart body pieces to meet certain criteria. Through Lauren’s exposure technique, you only get parts of a whole, and the lines where the body begins and ends are ambiguous. The combination of parts rearranged in a new context of “whole” antagonizes the traditional image of a woman.
To see more of Lauren’s work: www.lauren-martinez.com