Picturing Freedom: What is it?

Last month, Lomography asked us to picture Freedom. What exactly is freedom? I could say traveling (well, it's a big part of it), but I guess for me there's a little bit more than that.

At the time of this article’s writing, there were, like, 3 more days to the end of July, and for that month, the Lomography staff asked us to write about Freedom. To capture freedom on film and show it. I couldn’t just not do it, not when they ask to write about the most amazing feeling of all.

Freedom is different from person to person.

For Nina Simone, for example, this was what being free means:

For me to be free is a lot of things. Mostly traveling because it’s were you can really feel it: you can go anywhere you want and since you are a stranger and nothing is expected of you. So, I tried to summarize it in 5 things because five is a great round number but ended up with 7, and by the way, seven is also a magical number so…

1. Traveling: the greatest

For me (and tonantzin who wrote this great article on this subject) traveling is one of the things that makes you free. It’s the understanding that even if the world is finite there are ways you can move through it and go wherever you want to go.

I did an Interrail last Summer (and am still writing an article about that!) which is to travel around Europe by train with a pass from this company. Now, whenever I see railways that always reminds me of traveling and so…of being free. Not that I didn’t know before that trains could travel anywhere (even if I was born in a island with no train stations), but having had the experience of an Interrail journey and crossing so many cities in one month you really get to look at rails and trains and think “if I wanted this could get me anywhere.”

The first photo are railways in Lisbon, Portugal. The second are in Gorizia, Italy. The last two photographs are in Auschwitz — make no mistake, these two do not represent freedom: they represent the hope of it, but are the end of it.

Also, this jeep and the feeling inside it, to believe that I can go with it wherever I want (even if wherever I want has to be inside the island it is in, because jeeps don’t do really that well inside of water).

2. Have to do it? Do it your way.

To travel is amazing, I guess we already cleared that out.

But even when you are living in one city (and working there) like I am most of the time (for now, at least), there are ways to try to escape that boring home-work-home routine (work can be replaced by school or study or college if you need) and really make time for yourself, either by taking a different route to your destination and discovering new places or go to a park and read that book you need to read for school. There are so many ways you can do the exact same thing but in alternative ways. What’s more free than doing something the way you feel like doing it?

The boy on the first picture wasn’t begging, he needed to practice for class so was doing it on the streets of Venice. The others are places I saw while walking on places outside of my daily routine.

3. Ride a bike

Really, trust me. A lot of people wish they could fly, because birds look so free… I can’t give you the formula to do that without some kind of plane or helicopter or parasailing equipment… But if you have a bike, riding it gets pretty close.

4. Read a book.

The most wonderful way to live in places that don’t even exist. (like Hogwarts.) To live in places that don’t exist. Yes, I did wrote that one right. I guess the power of imagination is well linked to freedom, don’t you think?

5. Save someone.

I know this is not for everyone. It is not a “required” thing. But even if just talked with someone who is really sad or knowing that something I did made someone better… it feels like you can do so much more. Having just finished med school, I do hope this happens for a lot of reasons. One reason is to feel that inside of me, there is the knowledge to be free and not just be another book of rules and guidelines on a shelf.

The two pictures are of my college and a bunch of writing in stones that people from all around offer to the doctor represented by the statue in front of the college. They are mostly thank you stones for the work he did and the people he somehow healed or saved.

Some of them are thanking for miracles they asked (and they also light candles) for a loved one getting through a severe illness, even not directly to the doctor in the statue since he no longer lives.

6. Do something stupid or just silly (with friends).

Friends are those few persons you can be yourself around — really all the crazy and stupid parts of you — they get it. They just understand your craziness because most of the time they are equally that good kind of crazy as well. So if you have friends like that, go do something with them that all of you wouldn’t normally do by yourself. Because sometimes, just being yourself is the biggest freedom of all.

Do something crazy like, taking a bike ride at dark with no lights in a small village you don’t know, or just make stupid faces in photographs (always with my mouth open!), or take photos in a not very stable boat, standing up to get a better view, even if you get less balance — thankfully no cameras went swimming that day.

7. Take photographs

Especially when traveling but also in the routine live, photographs for me are ways to keep my memories alive. To capture a fraction of a second in time and make it mine. To live it again whenever I want to. Show a piece of my time to someone else.

It’s a bit like time traveling: and isn’t time traveling the ultimate freedom?

Like Nina Simone said in the video there’s really no way to fully explain what it is like to be free. I just hope one way or another some day in your life, you will feel it. Have you felt it already?

written by anamachado on 2013-08-05 in #lifestyle #railway #read #bike #routine #nina-simone #interail #photograph #freedom #book #live #travel #free

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