Keith Byars

I need a creative outlet. I need to ignite excitement and passion that I am missing and I believe creativity is the key missing ingredient.

For those of you that know me, and for those of you that don’t, I used to be a very creative person. I used to take photographs of everything — and I mean everything. My love for photography started in the summer of 1982 on the road back to Ohio from Florida in my grandparent’s Airstream. My grandparents were snowbirds living in Florida in the winter, driving to Minnesota each summer to spend time with family on Farm Island Lake. Most of the grandkids got a ride north in their Airstream (apologies to my sister and youngest cousin who missed out on the fun!) I received a Polaroid Rainbow SX-70 Onestep Land Camera the summer of my turn. I don’t recall who gave me that camera. It could have been mom, it could have been grandma, I just remember taking photo after photo after photo. I wore that camera out. I took photographs of everything on that trip. I still have the camera today. I learned I loved photography and a 12 year old can live off of cereal for two weeks and how to play King’s Corners with the best of them.

My grandmother was a very talented painter and I have been told I inherited her talent for creating art. As a kid I loved to draw, mainly drawing race cars and semi-trucks. I won a scholarship to the Columbus College Art & Design in the summer of 1983. What an eye opening summer that was, learning about Cray Pas and charcoal, learning to paint with water colors & oils, and learning about lighting and perspective. I started to expand beyond the cars and trucks I was drawing and starting to create landscapes and paint people. In high school I learned how to draw from a photo using the grid system. Living in the shadows of the Ohio State campus I created my favorite piece of art, a drawing of Keith Byars, a favorite OSU football player from the day.

As I got older I continued to draw and dabbled more and more in photography. Living in eastern NC, although lacking in opportunity, it has an abundance of natural beauty. The landscape of eastern NC was the backdrop to my photography. Lush vegetation, palpable humidity that was visible in the mornings, insects buzzing at life’s frequency, fields with rows upon rows of corn, cotton and tobacco, interspersed with decrepit farmhouses and rotting tobacco drying sheds. This was the rural decay my eye was drawn to. I thrived as a photographer — driving aimlessly finding images everywhere that I wanted to capture.

I then changed jobs and started traveling to China and seeing something so different, yet giving me that same creative excitement. As in rural eastern NC, I found images I wanted to capture at every turn in China. The one thing I noticed in my photography, where I grew as an artist, I was now including, looking for people to show up in my images. Prior, I wanted just the landscape — now I wanted people — there is not an image that can be duplicated when another human is in the image. Coming back home, I didn’t have that excitement — I lost my inspiration. No more photography and I soon left eastern NC for the capital. I thought living in an urban environment would help with my photography. By surrounding myself with photographers I knew and a city I didn’t I thought would be the recipe to re-ignite my inspiration. It hasn’t worked. Three and half years later I have been out with my real camera maybe five times — maybe eight — but you get the idea. For someone who shot everyday, I was not shooting enough.

So to the point about this creative outlet. At the beginning of this year I set out to write more. I wanted to do this. Not really a New Year’s resolution, but it is what it is. I needed to write for a few reasons. My thinking is that as I write more, I am going to learn to communicate better. As I write more, I am going to get to know myself better. As I write more, I hope to spark my creativity. I hope writing leads to photos. Crazy idea, but as I sit here writing this, I feel that spark of excitement starting to buzz …

I have ideas, passions and hobbies and as this experiment grows and evolves, I hope to flesh them out, communicate my ideas, share my passions and learn more about them.

Stay tuned …

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