Monday, May 6, 2013


I've been thinking about why it's so hard for me to just take a photo of something I like.  Why I can't shoot a single photo without knowing what it will be part of, what higher function it serves.  I've been blaming the imaginary critiques in my head, but I think it's more than that.

I'm realizing that I've become very jaded about images in general, and photography in particular.  Taking an aesthetically-pleasing photograph seems so easy, and so pointless.  I can make something pretty.  I think I can make anything pretty.  I've had a lot of practice, and I'm good at it.  But there are pretty photos everywhere.  Book covers, fashion ads, newspapers, Instagram.  Everyone's Flickr feed is gorgeous. And I just don't care.

What makes me care is all the rest, the connections and greater implications.  I care about story, either narrated through images, or the story behind the images.  I care about all the stuff that ends up in artist statements.  Those are the things that move images beyond beautiful, and it's the beyond that I care about.

And so I keep trying to make ideas instead of images, to start with a plan and then execute it.  The problem is that I don't work that way.  I don't come up with an Idea and then hunt down the pieces I need to make it.  I never really have.  I start with the pieces and discover what ideas they lead to.  But in order to get those pieces, I need to make a leap of faith.  I need to trust that ideas will come, that the images I shoot can be more than they are at the moment when I shoot them.  And that's hard and scary.

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