I’m lucky that my photography is not my primary source of income and that I can pause for periods of time when I get stuck in a creative rut. I liken the difference between full time photographers and part timers like myself, a lot like the difference between commercial airline pilots and recreational pilots. Commercial pilots fly a LOT, they fly in all weather conditions all year long. They are good a what they do because they don’t have a choice. If its raining, snowing, foggy, icy or the wind is blowing, they have schedules and safety to keep and they simply just get their jobs done. Recreational pilots on the other hand have the choice to wait for the weather to be just right. Or in my case when I get into a creative rut, I can wait until the weather is better, but that is a double-edge sword in that I’m not shooting.
I just read this blog post on 10 Photography Resolutions for the new year. It was a good article with resolutions I can relate to. I realized, what a great idea to keep me going, I need to publish my own resolutions for 2015. So here we go:
1. Stop giving a $#@! what other people think.
No, really, this is my number one resolution. Its my number one resolution because I’m a talkative, chatty, personable introvert that works with people. Yeah, an introvert for real, thats me, with an above average web presence and the desire to photograph people and tell the world about it. However for me Photography is a creative outlet and for whatever reason I’m not only critical of my own work, but I feel overly critical of people judging my work. This doesn’t happen in other areas of my life, just my creative side and I think its because I care what people think.
Some of this also stems from the fact that I have aligned myself with some extremely talented photographers. Photographers who’s opinions I respect, but I need to be my own photographer and this needs to be my creative outlet. I need to do my own thing and ignore what I think people will think.
I also think that living under the auspice of judgement holds me back significantly in my photography. I think that has been part of my slowdown with my blog and I think that’s been my slowdown with creativity.
“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things. — Ray Bradbury”
2. Stay away from Social Media
I want to like social media. I want to be on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. I want to make connections and use it as a tool. Heck I have a blog, isn’t that moving towards social media? Isn’t a blog the first iteration of the pre-social-media world? I want to to promote my site and myself, but social media and me don’t mix. I have a great life, but whenever I go perusing Facebook I never feel good about my work and myself when I’m done. The reason, I think, is that in reality Facebook is a depressing place where people boast about themselves to make themselves feel better and in return as a human you are always making micro-evaluations and comparisons of yourself compared to them. For some people it doesn’t matter they are too busy telling the world about themselves, but for some of us its just not healthy.
When I back off Social Media, its easy for me to know where I stand in the world, I know what I’ve done. I know what type of person I am and what type of life I’m leading, I don’t need to look at what someone ate for dinner or breakfast to compare my wonderful life against it.
“… Facebook use influences the two components of subjective well-being: how people feel moment-to-moment and how satisfied they are with their lives. Our results indicate that Facebook use predicts negative shifts on both of these variables over time. The more people used Facebook at one time point, the worse they felt…”
Lastly on this subject, if you still don’t believe me, take my challenge, ditch your social media for two weeks and see what happens. See if you are indeed addicted and also how you feel at the end of two weeks. Stick to mainline websites, email and text messages. You will feel better, you will end up with more time in your life and you will probably start looking for things to do. Maybe use that time to start something new.
3. Take more photographs and don’t worry.
This sounds simple enough, but its not always easy to execute especially in the dark dank doldrums of winter. For me its particularly difficult since I prefer to shoot people over things. Some people use photo 365 projects to keep them going, others like myself use my blog as my creative outlet. I need to take more photos in 2015 and I need to post regularly. If I can stick to my two resolutions above this should be easier.
“Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow that talent to the dark place where it leads. — Erica Jong”
4. Blog Post Regularly
I pigeonholed my blog over time. I started intermixing friends, family, social media, professional acquaintances and started making a business model out of it. In turn I stopped posting because I was always waiting for that great post that was fully developed that met the criteria of everyone I was intermixing. Meeting a criteria that they would all approve of. My outlet to the world stopped being an outlet because I couldn’t freely just say what I wanted. My goal for 2015 is to post regularly and post what I want when I want. If someone finds it interesting or helpful all the better. I also have a lot of ideas that I worked on last fall such as photo shoot notes and podcasting that I still want to do.
In the end this is my outlet. I need to just do what I want, the way I want and to not worry about what everyone else thinks. Maybe I’m maturing in that I don’t care what other people think, or maybe its just an artistic side I’m not used to. Either way this is mine to do.
5. Open my own Studio Space
Holy crap Virgil! Open a studio, this is a big one, why the heck is this at number 5? It is big and it will let me do what I want, the way I want at my own pace. Renting studio time has been good. Taking classes has been good. But its time to mature my photography into “my” photography and for that I’m going to need my own space.
Its also number five because I need to fix the things in number 1 through 4 above first. Once I’ve done that I’ll be ready. If I can make my own studio happen in 2015, fantastic, if I can’t, oh well, I’m not on a deadline on this one, I’ll make it happen in 2016.
“The chief enemy of creativity is ‘good’ sense. — Pablo Picasso”
So there you have it. My 5 new years photography resolutions for 2015 and depending on how you view #5, not a single one has to do with equipment, technique or traditional photography problems. Its all mental and about just doing it with reckless abandon.