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.