What?

11th October 2012

A simple word is what, but it’s so difficult to answer sometimes, particularly when it comes to questions about art.  I’m sure I’m not the first to pose this question to themselves and I’m sure I’m not the first that can’t answer it.  I’m hoping that by simply by writing it down and discussing it with myself I’ll come up with some sort of answer.  I’ve not defined ‘what’ is yet and I’m not really sure I know if it’s a question, a statement or a puzzle.  I think the best thing to do is try to start at the beginning of my quest and define what the problem is.

Before I started my journey with the OCA I was content that I knew what a good image from me was.  It would be a well composed, properly lit, in focus representation of something from nature, the family or a portrait.  Once I got into the course and my horizons were shifted I lost this contentment, which I’ve written about before, and stepped into a personal wilderness where I’m not sure what would constitute a good image from me.  It would still have to meet the technical criteria of course, but the subject matter is now the big area of my discontent.  I’m no longer sure about anything to do with subject matter.

I find that when I’m looking at pictures made by the best wildlife photographers I want to do those sorts of images, when I look at inspirational art photographs I want to do those sorts of images as well.  Logically I know that there’s no reason why I can’t do both but when it comes to the point of doing I can’t seem to generate any enthusiasm for either and if I can’t generate the enthusiasm for making images of any sort, what’s wrong with me and should I still be carrying on?

When I made the images for my final assignment in TAoP I really got into the groove and thoroughly enjoyed making, processing and showing the images I’d made.  I’m thinking that I enjoyed this because the decision about what I had to do was made for me; the only thing I had to decide was what I photographed.

Am I being too melodramatic by trying to equal the work of those whom I admire as artists and becoming frustrated because I’m not as successful?  Should I want to emulate them, or should I just be content with being influenced by them in what my own work turns out to be?

I think what I should do is look on the internet for subject inspiration until such time as my own develops.  I can’t see that this will be any worse than doing nothing and who knows; maybe I’ll even develop a style of my own as I go along.

If anyone should be foolish enough to read this all the way through and feel they have anything to add that may help me through this period, please feel free to share it with a comment, who knows, you may get something from it too.

4 Responses to What?

  1. Catherine says:

    I struggle with this as well Eddy. Whenever I see something good I decide I want to do the same, e.g. Keith has done some wonderful images with a pinhole camera – Zero Image 2000. So I looked it up, it’s beautifully made from wood, and I wanted one. I stopped myself from ordering it just in time! I’ve already got two film cameras and don’t use them as I should because of having to wait for the film to be developed. I’m really trying to slow down now; explore what’s out there and see what attracts me. My Mac desk top is now littered with ‘bits and pieces’ – images and snippets from various discussion threads and blog posts. All I need to do now is to look for patterns amongst it all and find a connection with myself.

  2. Eddy Lerp says:

    I’m really not going to say I’m glad I’m not the only one because it’s no help to you at all. What I find so frustrating is that I want to make images ‘cos that’s why I signed up, but I now have difficulty knowing what it is I want to make images of. I’ve found a list of topics on the internet and I’m going to see if this will stimulate something, maybe it’ll help you too – http://www.talkphotography.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=30760

  3. vickiloader says:

    Ditto all of the above! Seriously, your frustration; Catherine’s desire to try out new approaches and new subjects; not looked at Eddy’s link yet! But, and this is the big but—the fact that we are all thinking about it and feeling frustration and enthusiasm in equal parts—means that something is happening. And the fact that something is happening—whether it is in our heads or in our work—must be positive? I’m really hoping so…!

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