Welcome to www.joshcowens.com! I can’t begin to explain how good it feels to finally type that. Thanks for taking some time to stop by and visit my creative corner of the internet. It’s been a long journey getting to this point but alas, here we are. I’m scared. I’m nervous. But most of all I’m excited to share this site with you.
I want to dedicate this first blog post to the emotional roller coaster it has been getting to this point. In the process I’ll explain a bit about where the inspiration for the site came from, what the site is right now, and what I hope it’ll become in the future. I also hope you might relate to this story or derive some inspiration for your own creative endeavors.
Once upon a time I had a website. I started a blog my rookie season wanting to write about my experiences navigating the world of pro basketball. When I began playing abroad, I wrote about my international travels and encounters with cultural asymmetries.
It was all fun until it started to feel like a burden. I gradually pressured myself to find something interesting to write about in everything that I did both on and off the court. Experiences began to feel less organic and I felt overwhelmed by the “need” to analyze everything. Maybe I didn’t have much to write about after all or maybe my motivations were misaligned.
So I let the blog go and dove into photography. Only a couple of years into my career, I decided to save the writing for my personal notebooks as I continued to build my perspective. I bought a camera in 2014 having realized I simply wanted to be present and capture the raw views of my travels. Photography was the creative outlet I needed at the time. There was nothing to compare, nothing to analyze and nothing to explain. It was liberating to simply observe.
Since then, I’ve lived in a few countries and explored many more for both work and leisure. I’ve captured thousands and thousands of photos and continued to develop a style focused on natural light and natural moments.
DEVELOPING A VISION
A few years ago I came up with a fitting name, OMWH, to reflect the spirit of my growing portfolio of memories. Simple and straightforward, they were photos I shot “on my way home” from random morning walks, road-trips, and 10-month seasons spent living abroad. I’ve since decided it’s better as On My Way Here.
As that creative vision took shape, I knew I’d eventually want a place to let it grow. I knew it couldn’t happen in the isolation of my SD cards and hard drives. I’d have to move from that position of observation to one of engagement. And while the thought of sharing and the exposure to outside critique was scary, I decided the prospect of the photos never being seen by family, friends or even random people I don’t know, was much scarier. This is much of the inspiration for this site.
NOW AND BEYOND
Ultimately I wanted a self contained space separate from social media to share some of my creative vision and reflect my varying interests. Something like a digital studio where I could cultivate some of my creative outlets and test others to see what stuck. Traveling with basketball is a great source of inspiration for both my photography and my writing. So for now you can expect a healthy dose of the two as I start building in this new space.
Looking forward, I’m nervous because I’m uncertain where this site will go. I have a range of passions that continue to grow and evolve. This capacity for change was something I spent a long time overthinking during the planning and design phases.
I felt like I didn’t know where everything would fit or how they would eventually coexist in the same space. I thought I needed a clear blueprint for the site’s future before I began. So I tried to plan for it. And as time passed and I became more stressed and anxious, I found more and more comfort in the impossibility of the task. I planned away ever having to make a decision or confront the uncertainty of the future. The site remained a risk free idea under construction.
Then last year something happened that made me let go of all the fear and anxiety I harbored about this site. My computer crashed taking along with it all my hours of curation and editing, my site outlines, and my enthusiasm. It was a classic hard drive failure on the seven year old MacBook Pro I’d had since college. In the aftermath I wished two things: (1) that I’d had a regular data backup schedule in place and (2) that I’d just started. I was back at square one with my original camera SD cards and an idea.
If I can leave you with one thing, it is that ideas don’t go anywhere but in one’s head, notebooks, conversations with friends, or in my case, failed hard drives. An idea will never be anything more until it gets out through action. I realized the vision for this site is never going to be perfect and it’s always going to change. In that spirit, I want this space to always be dynamic. My goal is that it always has room to grow. I hope it is never “finished”.
Maybe you have a plan for something. Perhaps you have an idea for a creative project, a new business or even new vision for your life. Whatever it is, my wish is that you’ll confront any fears and anxieties that you may encounter as you transform your idea to reality. Begin where you are with what you have and with what you know. The most important thing is to simply start. Even if it’s just with a feeling that you like to take photos. Trust me, it is enough.
I’m excited that this site is finally real. I’m excited that you’re here. And most of all, I’m excited to start what’s next.