Eleutheromania (n.) an intense and irresistible desire for freedom;
Odds are, most people have never heard that word before, but can probably relate to it in some sort of way, I know I can. Let me introduce myself, my name is Lucas Ryan Chambers, and I’m a student here at APSU. I am also the Photo Editor of The All State Student Newspaper, a single parent, and I make my living as a photographer, though I still find it strange to call myself a photographer and usually say that I am just a dude with a camera. Writing, however, is one thing I don’t do much of, so this is probably going to be my wordiest post to this daily blog.
This past semester, I applied for a summer research grant that was being offered by the Art and Design Department. I had just recently come back from a photojournalism research trip to Haiti that was partially funded by the Office of Undergraduate Research, so I was more than excited at the possibility of having a chance in the summer to do more. My initial idea for this project was to experiment with astrophotography and portraiture since it’s a technical aspect of photography that can only be done in the darkest areas away from light pollution, and Arizona is the best place in the U.S. for it. I was lucky enough to receive the summer research grant.
I was excited after finding out I received the research grant. I knew that the expectations to produce some amazing images would be high, and that was a bit nerve-racking to say the least. It was until talking to one of the art department professors one day at an exhibit opening that he explained to me,
“It’s not about coming back with mind-blowing images, it’s more about figuring out who you are going to be as a photographer and finding out what your process is.”
So here it is, the day before I leave on this 3-week trip. My original plan was to only go for one week, but the more I thought about it I realized I could turn the entire research trip into an experience of a lifetime. I’ll be car camping in my old Volkswagen, taking as much camera gear as I can fit and doing my best to see everything I can in between here and California, which the more I looked at the map is an awful lot to see.
Now I don’t expect to have some type of epiphany about the meaning of life on this trip, but if I’ve learned anything from my recent experiences while traveling, you never know what to expect, and it’s usually best to just go with the flow. So if there’s one thing I hope to gain from this experience, it’s that I hope to figure out want to do with this camera that I’ve been carrying around every single day, and I think that’s a good place to start.