Tony J Harris - Thoughts About Fear

Model - Tony Harris July 103 FINAL.jpg

Just some thoughts from a searching photographer on a hot Sunday in August . . .

Throughout our daily lives, even when danger is not imminent, Fear tries to control us.   It is present in our minds, as individuals, in  groups, across nations and throughout the human psyche.   It is real and yet it can’t be touched, denied, or dismissed.  I’ve been thinking a lot about fear these days - both due to the state of the world we live in joined with its constant "in our face" news updates, as well as in major decisions about personal changes I am considering.

This is not about the fear you have when you are being chased, when a gun is pointed directly at you or you are in the middle of a war.  It is not the fear you have while being raped, molested, and abused.  This is about a different type of fear - the kind that makes you doubt life itself from day to day - the kind that talks to you all the time and tells you you aren't good enough, you can't take chances, you can't succeed.

Fear can consume us - paralyze us in our decisions and limit our potential. . . if we let it.  For me personally, it has probably sculpted much of my life, erasing options because of the fear of the unknown.  For others, fear leads to coping mechanisms, repressed (and not so repressed) anger, withdrawal, numbness and a variety of different actions and patterns we might not do if we did not let it consume us. It often leads to bad or at least limitng choices.

So how do we deal with fear?   We can’t just Turn Off the Switch as they joke about in the Book of Mormon.  We have to acknowledge it, give is some respect, but also understand it is a state of mind and there are other options.   Do I change careers, will my health become an issue, did I get certain genes, am I good enough, what if I fail - these are all fear based thoughts - and they won’t go away.   In Fact, they shouldn’t.  They are what drives us to be better, to succeed, to beat the odds and ultimately, unleash our potential.

I am very lucky to work with actor Tony Harris several times a year.  Tony hires me to photograph different themes to continue to build out his portfolio.   Last month, we were planning on a shoot in a beach setting - something for the summer.  I called him up a week before to go over details, and Tony said “I’m re-thinking the theme of this shoot.  I think I would like to do a shoot about fear”.   Hmmm . .. that struck a note in me . . . both because I have been thinking about the topic in my own personal journey so much lately, but also - how would I capture fear?  We decided to meet in Over The Rhine  to capture a bit of it’s grittiness and we hung up the phone.

That day, we talked more about fear - we are in similar places - looking at potential major life changes but also the possibility of what can happen if we let go of fear.  We both felt that fear doesn’t go away - it can’t be beat.  But . . there is a moment when you realize you aren’t controlled by it .. . .and there is a realization that it becomes a tool to push us on.  And that can make us smile.

Please take some time to peruse the set we captured that day - Tony is a pretty large fellow, and we play with his size to capture the full gamut of emotions around fear - anger, depression, humbleness, despair -and also caught just a bit of the vision and success that can follow when you put fearful thoughts into perspective.  Thank you Tony for the opportunity to explore this with you - I can’t wait for the next session!!!!

Tony Harris

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