Bored Enough to Blog

Hey Folks, it has been awhile since I’ve posted anything and I’ve been meaning to tell you that that’s all about to change.  After waking up after my three hour nap, I came to the realization that I have these random pockets of free time.  This time is leading me to a state of bonkers.  Therefore, to derail this bonkerness and close shut these pockets, I will now, at random intervals, post once more to my blog.

A lot has changed since Hocking Hills.  Back then I was still a Fine Arts major at DAAP.  After that summer I returned once more to the University of Cincinnati to continue my artistic training.  After only one day of Video Art did I realize that that just wasn’t for me.  Folks, I enjoy things all over the practical scale to the extravagant.  But sometimes you go too far.  It was a 13 minute long psychedelic hula hooping girl video that brought me back to the light.  I realized that I couldn’t be in Fine Arts any longer.  So with day 1 of classes done, I packed up my things and moved onward to a new career choice.

It’s funny, I never thought that I would have been one of those people they mentioned at the beginning of my first year at DAAP.  “Look at the person to the left and right of you.  You won’t see any of these people in a couple of years.”  Apparently the drop out rate is pretty high.

The same day I left DAAP is the day I walked into the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) to pursue a career in writing.  Why writing you may ask?  Well originally I went to DAAP for photography, looking for a way to get a BFA so that I may one day go to Film school for an MFA.  But by getting an English degree in Creative Writing, I could still make it into Hollywood.  It was a good quarter, in fact, it was a great quarter.  After a year of art, my heart was yearning for some good ole English.  I had to face my opponent, Shakespeare, I began writing my own poems and short stories, and I joined up with some cool clubs.  Everything was going well, on the outside.

Writing is a lot like art: it doesn’t matter what you think of your stuff it’s all about what everyone else thinks.  Questions started pounding in my head: “what if I spend all this time doing this and I’m not good enough?” “Who is going to read this?” “What am I doing here?” These questions began to spring up more my second quarter when my curriculum made a turn for the boring and my teachers changed into dictators.

A problem with the school system.  -Warning, this is a rant.  This program contains some amount of whining. Reader discretion is advised-

I dislike the academic mumbo jumbo they teach us here.  Even one of my teachers (one of the dictators surprisingly) said that it was something that high up English people had to make up because that’s what happens when you go on to higher education.  They had to make up stuff that sounded intense!  I always grew up loving stories for how they unfolded, not what structuralism/deconstruction/postwhatever ideas were in them.  I want to explore WHY this character reacted a certain way or what change needed to happen in the hero before she was able to succeed.  All of these arbitrary things made me feel like I was in art school again.  But there was a shimmer of hope.  A little light that grew bright in my feelings of self-doubt and anger towards academia.  That light was photojournalism.  Having an English major wasn’t enough.  I wanted more.  Since the school has no journalism minor (don’t ask me why) they offer instead a journalism certificate (same thing, no?).  Well I wanted it because most writers were journalists anyways so it couldn’t hurt to be ahead of the curve.  From day one of that second quarter in English, I was entranced and immediately torn between my recent freedom from the arts and the want to take pictures once more.  With the newly forming cloud of dread of “English” storming over my head, I knew I would have to make a decision.

I planned to ride the fence for awhile.  My Spring quarter was set up to support either a journalism major or to continue on in English.  The rest of the quarter was spent brooding over my “English” homework and comparing the two majors I was looking at.  Slowly though, the idea of Photojournalism took hold.  I decided, well, if I’m going for either the certificate or the major, I might as well try to work for the school newspaper right?  I had kept seeing things saying they needed photographers and my photojournalism teacher, Sean, kept suggesting we try it out.

After two failed attempts to visit them in the Newspaper office and an unanswered email, I began to doubt that it was meant to be.  I kept going on with English stuff and the day of an English Society meeting I was debating whether to go or not.  Something urged me to go and for an even odder reason, to bring my camera with me.  So I went, thinking it was just going to be a normal meeting at Roh’s Street Cafe.  But then something magical happened.  The Vice-President’s wife came in.  Jill Biden came in to our little café on the edge of Clifton.  We immediately asked her if she wouldn’t mind getting her picture taken.  She asked us what we were doing there and we explained that we were an English group meeting to read our stuff and talk about English related things.  It was then that she told us that she is an English teacher and decided that she was going to hang out with us.

_DSC0034  Jill Biden hangs out with UC’s Undergrad English Society and listens to student’s work.

Not knowing what else to do, I kept snapping  photos (like the one above).   Next thing I know, a girl on the other side of the room stops me and asks if I’m with the News Record (the school newspaper).  I explain (quietly) that I’m not but have been trying to get in.  Turns out, she was a reporter for the News Record and wanted my pictures for a possible story on this.  I couldn’t believe it.  After Jill left, we exchanged information and I went home running down the streets of Clifton doing the Pursuit of Happiness hand-clap and screaming “Thank you, God!!!”

I don’t believe in coincidences.  I believe that everything that happened that day was for a purpose and God was telling me what to do with my major situation.

In short, what I’m trying to say in all of this is: I am a photojournalist, I officially made the change in majors.  I went something of an odd route, starting in Fine Arts and flying over to the other side to Writing.  The swirl lead my back to Photojournalism where God has shown me I belong.  It’s what I wanted to do, take pictures (and video).  It’s also practical photography as compared to “artsy” photography where you take a picture of a river and it sells for millions of dollars (true story and the picture is far less interesting than it sounds, I assure you).  I’m so happy where I am and I’ve already gotten one picture published in the school newspaper, it was a small article and picture but it made the front cover.  And so begins my Photographical career.

I’m beginning a chapter under my “Travel” section.  I’m calling it “Adventures in Clifton.” Clifton is the wonderful magical place that surround UC’s campus.  I’ll be documenting the journey’s I take with friends and pretty much whatever else is going on.

Thanks for reading, folks, I know that was a bit long winded.  But I wanted to let you know what’s been going on and what is to come.  Hopefully I keep up with what I’ve set out to do, that is: to go through life with my foot on the gas and my knee on the wheel.  And it’s a good thing I have my hands free cause I’ll be taking pictures with them.

-Phil Didion

Missy   A recent portrait I did for a good friend, Missy Camp.  She used this for her Trumpet Recital.


One thought on “Bored Enough to Blog

  1. Dear Phillip,

    Perhaps you will be an even better photojournalist because of the roundabout route you took . I thought your pictures of Mrs. Biden and Missy were very good! I am looking forward to reading your blog again.



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