A Lens of Celebration

Van Neistat, filmmaker and older brother of Casey Neistat, released the first videos on his brand new YouTube channel – a series called The Spirited Man. I was ecstatic to see this, and even more so when I watched the videos. Then watched them again. And again and again and again. And fell in love with them.

It is hard to say what I love so much about this trailer and this series. The handmade quality in a world of digitally created and pixel-processed work? The moments of silence and peace in a sea of noisy and hype-based media? The clear and ever-present lack of social media and current trends? All of this. All of it. And so much more.

But what struck me the other day watching it again is that this trailer is simply a celebration of the things that make Van unique as a filmmaker and a human. He celebrates the ways he is different. He celebrates what makes him spirited, and encourages others to do the same.

I wrote down “celebrate what you love” in my notebook, then, curious, typed it into Google. Immediately, I found this beautiful TED Talk, from a former National Geographic photographer that plucked so many of the strings in my mind and heart that I had just tuned.

Here are a couple of my favorite moments, quotes from Dewitt Jones:

I just decided that if I had a choice between a world based on scarcity and fear, and one based on possibility… Then man I was choosing possibility. And no matter how dry and desolate, no matter how bleak and devoid of possibility a situation might seem – if I could just celebrate the best in it… I could find a perspective that would transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.”

Celebrating what’s right is not a perspective that denies the very real pain and suffering that exists on this planet. Rather, it’s a perspective that puts those problems into a larger, more balanced context.”

The world becomes a more beautiful place when we are actively working to celebrate it.

No matter how strange a situation that I walk into, the first thing I’m gonna ask is, ‘What’s here to celebrate? What am I falling in love with?”

Find what you love – anything you love. Write it down, think about why you love it, and celebrate that thing. That’s something I’m going to strive to do in all my work moving forward – it’s something I can’t get out of my mind.

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