All photographers go through it — the sneaky hate spiral of not producing any good images for a period of time. It's tough and it's hard, but it's important to have. I've been thinking a lot lately about how we produce our best work and what that says about us. Lately, I've just been feeling like I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off on assignments. I'm either overwhelmed or underwhelmed, and my head is abuzz and I just cannot focus. I cannot get "zen."
This realization has led me to another thought — do we produce our best images when we are at our happiest? I love my job here and really enjoy this community and cannot make the excuse that I'm not shooting good assignments, because I have been working on some wonderful things. But I wonder sometimes if being away from my family and friends is affecting my work more than I would like to admit. And, if that is true, is my sacrifice of being without them to be here for this job in vain? And if so, I'll be really annoyed.
Perhaps it has nothing to do with being happy — I was so happy at this maple festival I shot this past weekend. I don't think I made stellar images, but I like them and think they're OK. And that's OK that they're not the greatest images in the world. Because if we didn't shoot mediocre images, or even shitty ones, we wouldn't be able to compare it to our best work. And I ate some really good donuts at that festival, so it was totally worth it.
I'm really usually not very candid in my blog posts. I'll talk about how things happened, or provide some backstory, but I don't usually talk about feelings. As open as I am as a person, I'm actually not fantastic with talking about feelings. But I've been appreciating a lot of blog posts lately from another young photographer, Patrick Breen. I feel like he's always talking about what's on my mind, whether it's about photo contests or having your first job with no idea on your next step in life, or describing what it's like to photograph really difficult spot news situations.
So, I figure, if I'm feeling this way, I'm sure that someone else is, too. And it's doing me no service to myself to keep it bottled up, especially since I'm no longer surrounded by 30 photographers at any given time — I'm no longer in school. The worst I'll probably suffer from writing my feelings is that in three months I'll return to this blog post and think, "Wow, I was really dumb," just like I do with anything I write. Because we grow and we change and, hopefully, we improve.