by Debra M. Josephson
www.dmerylphoto.com I am an explorer and treasure hunter. I don’t use a pirate’s map with
clues leading me to a ship of gold medallions, although I would be happy to call myself a Goonie if given the opportunity. In addition, it has nothing to do with discovering a lost city and staking my flag on the land either. However, it does have to with finding gems wherever I go and getting lost in the moment. It’s about living globally and being a freelance photographer. I find and create treasures and narratives with a camera. Perhaps this current lifestyle choice manifested from everyday experiences as a child on Long Island. My father and I would take long bike rides in and around our neighborhood, always finding a new route to our destinations. More vividly, was the adrenaline rush I would get from jumping over fences together to avoid paying an entrance fee at a festival. Certainly, these are not the most dynamic tales, though being from a conservative upbringing, they shed light on my unwavering spirit. Both experiences offered adventure, creative thinking and an alternative path to the final result. In hindsight, getting degrees in studio arts and theory fostered that innate desire to live beyond familial and cultural expectations. Mix this up all together, and you have the heart of an artist making new paths for others to consider. The value of having a nomadic lifestyle is priceless. It challenges me to go beyond the median and nurtures my philosophies to life, which in return, is applied into my photography. For in-
stance, I believe that excellence comes from giving attention to the details. As I wander through a city, an abandoned shrine or just getting from home to work, I am constantly looking at the components in my surroundings that tell the story of that moment. I look up, down, inside, close up and from afar with an investigative eye covering all my bases. Finding the details are the finest jewels for an explorer like myself. And with any good investigator, every base must be covered at all times. After a while living in South Korea, certain trends started to grow on me. The one that has stayed current was cutting bangs. My students, then, noticed the change immediately and commented on how young I looked. It’s the ultimate compliment there. In this situation, I think about the expression, “When In Rome” and maintain the mindset about considering and adapting other beliefs into the ways I express myself. I am a believer in cultural hybrids and the transcultural
ideal of embracing all people. With my camera, I am naturally drawn to seeing this, but many times with an underlying humor. I have ease in expressing this cultural mix and it’s probably one of my prized photographic possessions. Perhaps what I value most, doesn’t have to be discovered, but harnessed and embraced every time I go shoot. It’s that when I am looking through my camera; I am seeing the story below the surface and able to express the beauty of our world in that way. Providing it for clients and enthusiasts is the treasure I give back to others to appreciate with me. A friend’s birthday wish to me this year ended with “….to a person who can charm anyone with her smile, and inspire anyone with her photography.” I hope that I shared a piece of that smile and inspiration with you. What drives you to be a Goonie?
Art Elemento Issue Cinco January 2012