For the last 2 maybe 3 months now, I am (was) struggling with my photography. I hit a so called dry spell. A plateau. A place where I did not see any photographs anymore. Everything looked plain. Everything I did looked plain. Seen it all before. I was producing work that did not excite me anymore. (Except for the work I did in Claresholm. That area just keeps me inspired...)
In my previous post about it (see below) I said I wasn't worrying about it too much. And that I was concentrating on other stuff regarding my 'career'. And so I did for a while (and I still have to tell you the HUGE news but I'm still keeping that buried for a little bit longer).
I was lucky enough to start photographing at the end of the film era. It was 2000. And digital photography was in it's infancy. Heck, digital just sucked back then. In 2005 I got my first DSLR. And since then I've never felt a real connection with photography anymore. Everything was dictated by the limitations of the digital gear.
That was until I got the RB67 about 8 months ago. Together with the smell of the chemicals it got me excited again. It transported me back to my personal happy place. Now the work I produced so far with the camera sucks but that is just the point. It proves that digital has made me a lazy photographer.
Yesterday I made a big decision though. And it felt liberating. Instantly I had a new spring in my step. Instantly I was motivated and excited about making art again. I decided to go full time back to film (except for some commercial work and my aurorae photography of course). A huge leap. I feel like I crawled out of a hole.
The reason WHY, is not easily explained in 2 words.
A lot of people will call me a 'purist' or 'different' and people have even gone so far as calling me an 'elitist' by going back to film. But the thing is. It's NOT about being special or me being the odd one in the group. That has nothing to do with it. The main reason I can give you about the why is because of something called 'inner satisfaction'.
It took me a long time to figure out that making art is not about making money (it's a plus), it's not about the hundreds of like's on sites like Facebook or Flickr, it's not about the +1's or how many people have you in their circles on Google+. It is certainly NOT about being better than anybody else, or to be able to use 'better' or more expensive gear than anybody else. No It's about satisfying your own soul. Something my work only gave me a few times in the past.
Another big thing is this. I don't want to let this darkroom film era die. I believe there will ALWAYS be a place for it. Doing the stuff I do, I feel like I HAVE to do it on film. Photographing the beauty of nature has to be done on something organic. It needs to be an organic process. Something that only YOU can do.
Making a perfect print is technically challenging. And a lot of people have no clue what they are missing and how much FUN that can be. The satisfaction I got in the past from producing a beautiful fiber based silver print is beyond anything I've experienced in the past few years I tell you that.
Even if nobody sees the stuff I will make in the future, I know it will make ME perfectly happy. And that is what making art is about, soul searching. It's complicated sometimes and sometimes it's easy.
When I told a photo-friend about my craziness, she immediately invited me to go out and shoot with the 4x5. We are doing that next weekend and I can not tell you how EXCITED I am about that!
I'll let you know how that outing went. ;)