Photography has often made me feel lost. It feels like a journey and you don’t know where your going, a nomad, a wanderer. Often you query if you should even be on a journey. Trying to find something, only you don’t know what that something happens to be or how to find it. You cannot stop, there is a drive in you and it won’t let go. If your not photographing, you cease to feel alive.
Slowly you get better but keeping up with your last best image becomes a struggle. At times you just feel the need to pick up and camera and shoot what feels right. Months, years, decades can go by. Your vision gets more personal, more unique but doubts start to set in.
You look back at the books you bought on learning photography. Composition, the rule of thirds, creative depth of field, how to make colour pop. What once seemed so exciting, so full of endless possibilites and learning, becomes numb. Photography’s become too personal, too much a outlet for your inner self. Photography has become too precious a medium to waste on images that are not from the heart. The fear sets in, that they are only photographs and now so many photographs mean so little to you.
In desperation, searching harder for inspiration you trawl the web and bookstores for new heroes. You learn their inspirations and their inspirations-inspirations. Photography is always a never ending journey. In this journey eventually your going to hit the wall.
The realisation that photography has become so much more than the presentation of professional, pretty images can be hard. Photography has become an art to you, only; your not an artist. You struggle on feeling a fake, an imposter. Sooner or later your going to stop creating.
Luckily, if that is the right word, for those that these words resonate with, the drive remains too strong to ignore indefinitely. You find yourself trying to latch onto projects you want to explore. Nothing feels right and often these projects just seem random and fickle. With each theme of the week you explore in your photography, you seem to circle what you really want to create. Before you where disheartened and stuck, now your frustrated and stuck.
I feel like I have described 10 years in 6 paragraphs. This is the stage you need to dig deep and start to reach out to others who have been on this journey. You need to find out what it is within you that you need to create. The doubts set in, if I really had anything inside me that I really needed to say, why on earth can I not even discover it myself?! Your not at artist – yet.
‘Yet’, is right, because at its core Art is about discovering yourself. With this realisation the clouds do not simply vanish, the frustration remains and often you remain firmly stuck. Only now the enthusiasm you once had, starts to build. The feeling of wanting to rise to the challenge, the possibilities of exploration begin to reignite.
Sooner or later by latching onto what enthusiasm emerges from within inner frustrations, things begin to emerge. Images from the past whisper at something your trying to say; a mood, a message. Themes start to fall into place and unrelated images seem to suddenly connect. What you’ve been searching for is your message, your voice – finally its starting to make sense.
The road ahead remains bumpy, I hesitate to disclose my own message as I know its foundations remain shaky. What once felt so right; tomorrow – misplaced. I know I’m moving forward, heading towards something. Nothing is clear but I’m creating photographs and I feel alive.