A couple of years ago I embarked on a journey with the intent to document the small collection of cameras I had, as more or less a personal project. As I progressed the collection grew and the end of the process rather than getting closer seemed to extend into the distance. In the last few months I have reached a point where I don’t feel I have to complete this exercise and I have reduced my collection down to the ones I want to keep and use and am slowly selling off those that don’t meet my criteria of Voigtländer or beautiful or useful.
So I now have before me (and upon me) a struggle to change the way I shoot and write. For me “struggle” appears to be the right word. I seem to have slipped into a process of shooting purely to test the particular camera I was using and less so looking for really good images that I would be proud of. That is not to say that I didn’t take good pictures I am quite happy with a lot that I have taken over the last year or so. It is just now that I am back to taking photos for their own sake I feel like I have forgotten somewhat where I left off.
To help me find my way back I have gone thorough the photos of my library and pulled out a number of common themes and tried to analyse my continued (or not) interest in these things. This has helped but I am still not in a place where I feel I am again a photographer.
Partly it is volume. As reviewer I could shoot a roll in a few days or less, now a roll is lingering in my camera for weeks and that bugs me. As a reviewer I could easily slip out and shoot things around my work place at lunchtime but now I am shooting for myself I feel like I have shot all I can in that small neighborhood. My evenings and weekends just haven’t made it easy for me to take the time to go for a proper photo walk and when I have I still struggle to take ‘serious’ pictures.
“Serious pictures” is I think the bigger issue. As I move back into a ‘photography mode’ I am trying to action all the creative and artistic approaches that I have learned through books and video over the last few years. I am just an amateur but for some reason I am looking at photography like I am the next Alfred Stieglitz or Edward Weston. I’m NOT and I don’t know why I am taking myself so seriously but it is getting in the way – I’m reminded of my days as a martial artist and exploring zen – I’m trying too hard, I need to let it happen without trying.
I feel a little like a carpenter who has just set himself up with the best tools and started out on his own but now can’t find the inspiration for what he is going to do with those tools.
Writing this I think “wah wah wah; stop complaining and whinging that you’re not taking amazing pictures; poor poor you… just go and get on with it – there are bigger problems in the world!”
I know this is a silly issue to have especially as it’s not costing me my livelihood or anything like that; I do do this for fun.
I suspect that an approaching large life event (getting married again) has something to do with my lack of inspiration as preparations take a lot of effort and have my full focus. I think that with a nice bit of travelling I will be slipping back into my groove at some point in the near future and these last few weeks or months of photographers block and the resulting pressure I am putting on myself will fade into the distance.