Beer, Making Art, and Courage
Every day, I get asked, “How do you do it? How do you get such inspirational results with just that blunt instrument called a camera?” Well!!!! Ahemm…First I… Then I… well awright……., nobody ever asked me that. But if they did, I would tell them……. it’s all in the beer!!!
First, I am a Penn Stater. That means something. It stands for something. Even God is a Penn State fan ‘cause that is why He made the sky blue and white. It also means I am a professional beer drinker. No, not like a high-quantity, guzzle ‘em down burp-guy from one of those lesser universities, but one who learned the fine art of using that golden serum to one’s advantage. Yes I learned me a good lesson about beer. It inspires one to desire something better, to set and strive for lofty goals. It pushes one to improve upon what is left unpolished by the ignorant. It compels one to transform the banal into something special and prized. It requires one to take better pictures! It frees you to create art!
Beer Gives You What You Need
Beer frees the mind and gives you courage. Did you ever walk the city streets with your camera and long to take those prized people-shots you see in magazines and on the internet? Did you ever dream of getting shots like those wonderful candids of that old guy with the craggy, scrunched face that has seen way more than you or I ever will? Did you fantasize about capturing that award winning, uplifting, emotional picture of a cute little angel-boy holding a red balloon and savoring a big booger on his lip? Well who the heck can stand in front of them and say “hold it there, I am a camera nerd and want to take a nice picture of you”.
Beer gives you the courage. Beer puts you in that creative mind. Slug ‘em down and stagger out onto those streets! Shove that camera in that guy’s face and cuss at that little angel-boy-brat-thing as you snare that award winning photo. Who the heck can take those intimate, people-photos sober? It takes guts. It takes a creative mind. It takes beer. Beer sets you free.
Your New Camera and That Manual Thing
So you just snagged a new digital camera and are amazed at all the buttons and functions you were sure you absolutely needed to have. You open the box and gaze at that really cool, long lens, take in that funny Japanese smell, and then stare at all the buttons… and say “what the f#!k is this s#!t all about?” You try to figure it out, spend hours reading through that manual, staring at the pictures, and are no closer to turning it on let alone snapping your first great piece of art. The reason for this is the manual is a reference tool and not a learning guide. You cannot learn to take better pictures from reading the manual. You refer to the manual after you know the basics. Otherwise, you waste your time and ruin your day. The best place for that manual is in the littlest room of your home.
So, dejected, you take out your new camera with all that unknowable electronic wizardry, put it in that setting-for-losers called Automatic Mode, and shoot boringly away. click…. click…………click…… Dull day. Dull pictures. No fun.
Well now, try slugging down a few beers. You don’t need that geeky manual. Now we’re talking! Now we’re uninhibited! The sun is brighter! Everywhere you look is a great shot! Wow! Art is everywhere! How do I capture that? Heck, it doesn’t matter, snap away.. electrons are free. Put the camera in rapid fire and peel ‘em off tk-tk-tk-tk-tk-tk-tk… yeah, this is living! Yes, beer frees you to make art.
Beer also keeps you from slipping back into bad habits like reading the manual…. Go ahead, try reading the manual after a six pack… yea, no way.
Not all Beer is Equal
For the best uninhibited photography, I recommend the Czech masterpiece Pilsner Urquell or a great, snappy German pilsner. You can drink a bunch, enjoy every last one, and the flavor is just right. It doesn’t get in the way of your creativity and dare I say, improves it? Now I do love Belgian beers the most, say a perfumy Leffe Blonde or a nutty Palm. But when you drink these great brews, your mind drifts, and you envision the old grandeur of the Grand Place, French cuisine that is better than what Paris serves, tender moules, perfect frites, so why ruin the visions looking through a piece of complex plastic. Belgian beers and the memories they conjure just don’t go with good photography. Czech and German Pilsners enable a free mind to make great art!
Beer Helps Readin’ and Writin’ Too
If you haven’t guessed already, I have in few in me right now. How else could I have created this stunning Hemingwayesque prose? How else could I even think that what just wrote was Hemingwayesque? On top of that, I never even read a word by that guy Hemingwayesque.
Get off Automatic! Click here for my beginner’s guide and secret settings.
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