the photographs will come

This is from a few months back… I’m moving a few posts from my other defunct blogs over here before I pull the plug on them.

I haven’t been taking many photos beyond a few daily snapshots since I came back out to the desert. Mostly I’ve been sitting and walking, looking and listening, absorbing my surroundings but doing very few pictures. Does this trouble me? Not at all.

Occasionally I read someone gnashing their teeth and chewing their knuckles over a slack period. This implies that inactivity is a problem, something that needs to be fixed. But I don’t see it that way. It’s okay to not make photographs.

Photography, as are all art forms, is a process. It’s a process of giving coherent form to your life experiences. You may or may not agree with me, but I’d say that 99% of the work that goes into a photograph (if you can really put a numerical value on these things) is done before the camera is ever brought up to the eye.

The world around us is a random, chaotic, ever-changing thing. We experience it with all our senses. We see the sights, we hear the sounds, we smell the smells, but it can take time, especially in unfamiliar areas, to be able to translate that into the limitations of a still photograph. The senses are alive and kicking, but our creative sides need to assimilate things to be able to form them into work that’s uniquely our own.

There are several ways photographers deal with these lulls. Some pace and worry… others give themselves exercises to do to try to get the juices flowing. Speaking for myself, I simply let them run their course and accept them as part of the process. I don’t see periods of inactivity as a problem. Rather, I see them as signs of growth and change. As you get familiar with new areas or new subject matter you artist side will begin to form what’s around you into visually coherent statements. The urge to pick up the camera will follow… the photographs will come.

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