Thursday, July 25, 2013

Welcome to the nightmare in my head!

For the last few weeks I've been feeling down. Not psychologically, let's get that straight from the beginning. But from a creative standpoint.

It's funny really. I haven't touched the camera all that much ever since I came back from Belgium. I used it sparsely, here and there.

And then last week, I saw this body of work by Michael Jackson. The photographs that Michael is creating are absolutely brilliant.

But it pushed me even further down. "Why can certain artists be so creative?", I asked myself. Why can somebody come up with such a brilliant concept and I can't come up with anything even remotely interesting.

I really didn't get it. I was looking for an alternative approach to my own work. Do I go for the pinhole stuff? Do I go for some weird alternative process? Do I want to do more long exposures (nah, too many people are doing this already, it's getting old). Do I want to do more extreme long exposures (maybe, but it's boring stuff, I'm not sitting around waiting for a 5h exposure to finish up). Do I do this? Do I do that?

The whole situation pushed me in a downward spiral.
Ask my wife! I was grumpy for about a week. Locked up in my head. Thinking, pondering, weighing options, analyzing...

The fact of the matter was that I though of my work as the biggest load of cr*p ever produced. I get phases like this where I just want to hit delete, toss the camera as far as I can toss it and just do something else. I just didn't wanted to create anything anymore. Because I knew it was going to be mediocre, or would contain stuff I've done so many times before.

Then it hit me. I hit myself on the forehead. HOW could I let myself slide like this? I shouldn't be paying attention to what other artists are doing. I should do my own thing. If I do it long enough, eventually something will come out of that, right?

I remembered Cole Thompson talking on his blog about Photographic Celibacy.

Did I really want to do something different then what I am doing now? It wouldn't fit into my idea's about art and what fine art is. That it has to be created from the heart. Your work has to reveal your soul, it has to show the viewer who you are.

If I pursue something that wasn't me, how could that make me happy or proud in the end of it all?

Long story short. Ever since I've put my locomotive back on the tracks I felt a little better about my work. I went out this week to chase some storms. And after a successful night this week I came back with a big grin on my face. "Sarah, I've shot 2½ rolls of film tonight". I was extremely happy about that fact. "I think I've pushed through".

That's exactly the thing. Sometimes you forget how hard you love doing a certain thing. For me that is photography. I remembered this week. And it re-sparked my energy to create more work.