On Saturday I attended an event with Patricia Fripp and Robert Fripp at Microsoft in Redmond. "How to be an Hero on and off the Platform, from Beginner to Mastery in Business, Performance and Life"
I nearly did not go, but thanks to my friend Jaxie Binder, the co producer of Tuning The Air, who helped organizing the day, I did. I am so glad and grateful that I did.
Patricia Fripp is a well known speaker and executive speaking coach. Energetic, funny, on the point and very present. She literally jumps in front of you with open arms, waking you up.. Her brother Robert Fripp, the legendary guitarist and founding member of King Crimson, has a different kind of presence: modest and preferring to be in the background, but extremely sharp in analyzing complex connections and bringing them down - or up - to basic (and wise) principles. With that there is a wicked sense of humor and a very generous spirit. You can see it in the twinkle in his eyes..
I met Robert Fripp for the first time in 1992 - I was still living in Berlin in Germany - when I attended my first Guitar Craft course in Texas. I did not know too much about King Crimson or Robert Fripp at that time, did not consider myself a "Fan" or having any musical ability, but suddenly I was sitting in an airplane to Austin, Texas with my newly acquired guitar, following an inner voice that this was the absolutely right thing to do and a question of life and death.
And it was the right thing. I did not become a musician - I gave up the guitar some month after that- but I got very involved in Guitar Craft projects in Germany and in America as well as in Seattle after I moved here 11 years ago. I also met my husband Frank on the first course. He was teaching the Alexander Technique for many years on these workshops in Europe, North and South America.
What does this all have to do with Photography? I believe that my experiences on these courses, many of them in a two hundred year old farmhouse in Grossderschau, a small village in former Eastern Germany, helped shape a certain sense of attention. Attention and openness for moments of sheer beauty, often connected with silence. Sometimes painful "lessons", stripping away the clutter in my head and the self perception and deception.
I believe it had an influence on my photography, on who I am in the act of photographing people. I feel I can "see" better because of that, the other person I photograph and myself. What I am aspiring to - to allow the truth and the beauty of the other person come through - became a little bit more available, by not getting into my own way all the time.
In Robert's talk on Saturday there were so many beautiful and eye opening things that hit me in the mark and that I can apply to my work as a photographer. It is still settling in in me and will be material for the next weeks to work with. The sentence that is there with me all the time like a subtle bell and sometimes like a rambling alarm clock is:
"The only thing we have in life is the quality of our attention"
The event in Seattle is over, the next one will be in Phoenix, but there are cd's available and more information on Patricia Fripp's website.
A funny description of Guitar Craft by Patricia.
Some clips on Youtube.
Tuning The Air, a project by some Guitar Craft people in Seattle, worthwhile checking out their weekly performances.