Long Weekend

We spent a long weekend in Dallas with my family for Thanksgiving. We visited our favorite stores, hung out around the house and let the dog chase us on longboards.

I also forced myself to face my fear of photographing complete strangers. It is uncomfortable, but in the end I am satisfied with the results.

After several weeks of having little time for photography, it was nice to have the freedom to spend some time with the camera.

8.8

Continuing on with the “line” theme (well, loosely anyway) I decided to change things up this week and shot mostly at a wide normal focal length; 8.8mm on the LX3.

I have really enjoyed shooting the last few weeks. Restricting myself to only shooting only what I can see as a “line” has actually freed me to be more creative than I could otherwise be.

Of course all that goes back to the idea that constraints enhance creativity. If you still haven’t read A Lesser Photographers Manifesto, you really should. (Just be aware that his site is sometimes hard to connect to.)

So for now I will continue to look for lines, at least until I can think of something else to shoot.

Connection

This week was a struggle for me to find any sort of photographic inspiration. Waiting until nearly the last minute, I finally forced myself out the door, falling back on “just shoot something”. It almost seems like the cyclist in the foreground is looking for a connection, maybe based on a common interest. But in reality, I am pretty sure she is just trying to figure out what I am pointing my camera at.

Expectations

I went on a trip with work this past week. My idea was to make a series capturing the feeling of living out of a hotel room. My original intent was to make a diptych similar to what you would get out of a 1/2 frame 35mm, but I only got as far as one photo. Having only one photo, I almost cropped to 1×1 but in the end decided to leave it in 4×3 because that is how it was composed. On one hand I am disappointed, I know what I saw in my head that I wanted to capture but I did not do it. On the other hand I am satisfied with what I did with the time available to me.

Waiting

If you are a perfectionist like me, you are waiting for everything to come together, all at once, and in good order. But the light is never just right, there are too many people in the way, I don’t know how to run a blog, I’m afraid I will be embarrassed. If you are like me, you suffer from ‘paralysis of analysis’ and can never get started.

I came across an article by Matt Mullenweg  a couple months ago; it’s what really pushed me over the edge to actually publishing my photography and taking this seriously (again). My current goal is to post a recent photo once a week. It’s a lot of work, but what I keep coming back to is the idea that I have to post something; it doesn’t matter if it’s exactly what I want, it just has to be there.

This way I learn from my mistakes. The other way I don’t make mistakes because I don’t do anything. “If you’re not embarrassed when you ship your first version you waited too long.” So I guess it’s okay to be embarrassed.

Emotion!

How do you distinguish between a photo that is good, and one you have an emotional attachment to? When you take a picture there is a feeling, or a thought, an idea you are trying to capture. Or a story you are trying to tell. When it’s time to sort your pictures, how do you set aside “how you felt at the time” so you can make an objective decision? Maybe you felt a certain way when you captured the image, or maybe someone or something in the photo is important to you. Is it necessary to make the distinction? Does it matter how “good” a photo is if it has meaning to you? Or is something lost when you have to explain a photo, shouldn’t a photo explain itself?

Joy Ride

Since Ray Bradbury passed away last week, I have been thinking more about his work. He is one of my favorite authors; my favorite story of his is The Highway from The Illustrated Man. The imagery in that story is so vivid, I see Hernando in his field every time Bradbury comes to mind.

Today I came across a lecture he gave back in 2001. I couldn’t help but think how much his advice on writing could be applied to photography. His point about “writing with joy” especially resonated with me. I had to put photography aside in the past because it became too much like work.

I also like what he said about using “word association” to counter writers block. It is discouraging when you want to make something but you feel like you can’t. Over the past few weeks I have been going along with his advice of “just [take a picture of] any old thing  that comes into your head”. It helps the creativity to flow, and I am often surprised at what turns out to be an interesting photo.