I could probably be described as a very lazy control freak.
I’m not saying I am, but that I could sometimes be described as such. Occasionally.
And that would certainly apply to how I approach my photography – When I know I can’t achieve the image I want, I don’t bother. I’ll let the image find me.
Well, this year – or at least this month – I am attempting to shake things up a bit. Last year, I designated a Song of the Day for each of the 366 days of 2012. As much fun as that was, I didn’t think I could keep it up for an additional year (I may give myself serial challenges of one week here or one month there), so I’m taking on the challenge of posting a photo of the day. I know dozens of people who participate in creating and following user-generated schedules of what to focus on for each day (sky, trees, small objects, self portrait, etc.), but that’s just a wee bit too rigid for how I like to work. Maybe I’ll challenge myself to one of those months later on, but not for now. And obviously, this blog would be the perfect outlet for posting said photos, but I’ve been agonizing over when to post a collection of the images – at the end of each week, month, etc. – and of course 31 days doesn’t exactly divide cleanly for aesthetic purposes, so I’ve continued to put it off.
Well no more! I have designated my 21 photographs for the previous 21 days of 2013 and that divides rather nicely!
Additionally, this becomes a lesson in letting go of that artistic control. The photos I select for each day aren’t the images that describe my point of view as a photographer. They aren’t even the most compositionally interesting. But they are my life. And that’s good enough for me.
It seems almost cliche to write a “year in review” post, especially since my writing has been so sparse, but that’s not going to stop me! I’m ready to say goodbye to what’s quite possibly the most densely packed year I’ve ever experienced, for better or worse.
For me, at least, 2012 was a year of change. The End of an Era. (many eras!) It was a year of loss. The close of a chapter. I graduated from college (the end of the “formal education” era) with my BA in Communications and Political Science. I also lost several people very close to me, or the ones I love, as well as my two dear pets, throughout the year.
But the year also presented me with many opportunities. I found a job that really excites me and constantly keeps me on my toes. I’ve reignited old friendships and discovered new ones. I’ve started drinking brewed coffee and beer! I’ve traveled (a cruise to Cozumel and a trip to Boston/Mt. Washington for a wedding)! I got a new iPhone AND an iPad!
The best part? I’ve learned a lot from 2012.
For many reasons, 2013 is the start of something new. It’s the Chinese Year of the Snake (hell yeah!). It’s my first year on my own-ish (it still counts, despite having moved back home). Last year was a year en flux; I never really seemed to catch my footing. It was hard to find my rhythm, hard to know who I was or what any of it meant. But I’m taking owning this opportunity for new. And a very large part of that is how I engage with photography.
I’ll say it: I took myself too seriously. I took my photography too seriously. (I took a lot too seriously.) And much of my 2012 was spent grappling with the conundrum of many a photographer: where does “capturing the world” end, and “experiencing the world” begin. I’m still working to figure that out, but this time, I’m not going to deny myself of my camera (yeah, I actually did that) unless I have a “shooting assignment.” But all of that is about to change.
The last few months have been… hectic, to say the least. Or, maybe, ‘frustrating artistically’ is a better turn of phrase.
Those last few weeks of spring semester, I worked diligently on my Sherman. Still Life. series, yet I wasn’t granted a Senior Galleried Show. While I was understandably frustrated (I gave up auditioning for the final show of the theatre season and my college career, but such is life.), I ate my pint of ice cream and pressed on. I really poured over the things said in my last few critiques and produced some large-scale prints I was really quite proud of. So there was that. But then I moved out of my spacious little dorm room (no, really.), and my digital portfolio with my photography from the entire semester disappeared before I could post much of it online! Including thousands of shots documenting our production of You Can’t Take It With You.
Once I got settled in at home, the transition didn’t really take and I was pretty consistently blue. I had no photography to focus on, no people to surround myself with, a good friend in the theatre passed, my littlest dog passed without warning, and the job I applied for passed me up without an interview. Then, a little over a month ago, I got a call about a job interview that I hadn’t even known to apply for. It was everything I was looking for and never thought I’d find so soon after graduation. Almost immediately after, my dad took me on a cruise to Cozumel, Mexico for graduation! It was a curious experience; took so many photographs and used my time away to reflect on the first half of the year and muse on things to come. During the drive north, I got the job offer I hoping for. I started the day after Independence Day and have been humming along ever since.
I think that, because of everything that’s transpired these last few months, it was really difficult to sit here and type it out. Nearly a month has passed since the cruise and I’ve only just looked at my photos and uploaded them to my various portfolios.
I’m hoping that, with this entry, I’ll start to strike a more comfortable balance between existence and passion.
Good news! Sherman Still Life was approved and I’m hitting the ground with a speed-walk mall walkers would envy running! My next critique is tomorrow (in addition to a scanner/photogram assignment), so it’ll be a very busy night!
Incidentally, I got the first rolls of film developed from the Slim Devil and it might be my new favorite camera! Luckily, I’ve been stock-piling the rolls Tracz has given me the past few classes, so, between the Slim Devil and the Lensbaby mount for my Nikon, I’ll be shooting with greater focus over spring break!
Now for the less-stellar news: last week, we had a demo of unique techniques when making photograms and without even developing, my hands and legs have started breaking out. It looks like I’ll predominantly be working in the digital lab this semester. Additionally, my standard formula for my morning coffee is slightly on the disappointing side today. So it goes.