Life brings its seasons, on its own time, on its own terms. We humans challenge that, don’t we? We, I, would like nothing better than to control the terms of life – at least to a great extent. But here we are, at the whim of the vagaries of life. It can be a rocky path.
These days my photography is a challenge. It isn’t flowing to my satisfaction. I am not flowing to my satisfaction. And so the rewards of making images – those feelings of success, the accolades, the sense of satisfaction, are lacking, wanting. It is a frustrating time. It is also a time of questioning my reasons for photographing.
Do I photograph for accolades, for those positive feelings? Honestly, much of the time I do. But that is a risky proposition. For then my continued photography rests in large part on the good graces and expressed good feelings of others in response to it. Is that really how I want my art form (whatever that truly is?) to be dependent on an external locus of control? Or is photographing, and art in general, really supposed to be the expression of an internal response to life, a reaction to life and its mysteries, joys, heartaches, and wonder?
Of late my web presence has decreased significantly. I am posting less, social media-ing less, and being much more selective with my inputs. Work and family commitments have dictated this in large part, but it was time really. I strongly recognize the importance of managing one’s inputs as it has an enormous impact on one’s life. And I have chosen to be more choosey with my inputs, encouraging myself to select higher art forms like well regarded photography, fine art, fine literature, really creative movies, good music, better food. The changes have been significant in a short period of time.
But a word of warning should you choose to embark on such a journey as well – you might well become disappointed in your efforts at your own photography, at your own art. Higher levels of input let you know where you stand; higher art shows you exactly where you are mediocre. It takes some fortitude to face this. It can be a tipping point. This is the point where some push on, strive, grasp higher, tenaciously hang on for the long term. This is also the point where many pack it in, throw in the towel, quit.
Time for some grit.