I’d like to thank everyone for the comments on my previous posts. Your encouragements and understanding mean a lot to me and have already led to some very interesting conversations.
Despite time and energy being only available in limited quantities at the moment, I’ve been feeling a burning urge to get started again. But what? How? When? The logical choice seems to shoot more in every day life. I’ve been carrying a camera around with me pretty much all the time for many years. But in the last few years, I haven’t used it much. Last month I’ve tried to use it more often again, sometimes I did, sometimes I forgot.
When looking at last month’s catch, my first reflex was not to show any of it. The pictures are not up to my standards, have little relevance to my clients and don’t fit my brand. But wait a minute: I want to redefine my standards, and I currently don’t really have clients or a brand. I find it really hard not to fall into old habits.
I have to remind myself that at this point, it’s all about the process. It’s about experimenting and learning along the way. And when I took a second, closer look at my random March pictures, I started to see things that could potentially be important somewhere along the way. The instagram-worthiness of a picture is irrelevant, it’s what I learned from it. Here are some pictures and observations.
Documenting my family, I used to be so good at it and now it seems so hard to do. A lot of questions float through my mind about this:
Did I lose my touch?
Is our family life too boring to document?
Am I too hard on myself? Am I comparing the best pictures from a couple of weeks to the best of a couple of years?
Or is it simply because my kids are older and more aware of the camera?
I also got reminded that the value of pictures depends on who’s looking. Most of my career I have worked for and aimed for the biggest audience possible. This will get you money and likes. But the bigger the audience, the bigger the compromises you will have to make. The most fulfilling work I’ve done, very rarely fell in that category. It’s that middle aged woman who finally started to see herself as a beautiful woman because of the pictures I made of her. It’s the mom that couldn’t stop her tears because she felt I captured the connection between herself and her son. It’s the refugee who got an Instax portrait and said it was the first time in months that someone saw him with dignity and humanity. It’s the teenager that thanked me for the birthday pictures I made of him when he was a toddler. This is definitely food for thought.
Last week, it was unusually foggy when I got up in the morning. I snapped some pictures on my way to work. What struck me is what a beautiful present that commute was. First the fog gave a gloomy mood, then it switched to peaceful, and went back to gloomy. On the hills along the highway the fog became pure magic after dipping into emptiness in the valleys. And when I got to work, a bit a haze was all that was left.
The pictures are nothing special but when I reviewed the pictures I was reminded of a book I’ve been reading: “The Power of Now”. The book is way to fluffy and long winded for my taste but accepting and embracing the present is something I would like to be better at. In my photography too often I see the present as the result of the past mixed with the goals of the future.
I think I’m going to explore the relation between photography and the present more soon.
I’m fully aware that my thoughts, ideas, doubts and questions are all over the place. But that’s what I need to do right now. It’s brainstorming with myself … and with you. If you feel like sharing your thoughts, feel free to hit the comments.