Something Like That
Monday. I don't have anything on my calendar for this week, a week therefore open for me to do precisely and exactly anything I may want. What a concept. Walking to breakfast this morning in the very early light it was quite cold (I know, I know, but around here it was cold) and I was wondering how the day was going to start, but walking back - still cold, of course - the sun was bright, the attitude soaring, the eye looking for possible photographs.
I watched the last half or so of a program on early west coast photographers - Weston, Adams and the rest - with the usual comments on photography, what photography “is” and a few really nice pictures and I felt my head shift a couple of gears. No big deal, just the awareness going back to looking around again with potential images in mind. They're everywhere, by the way, everyone sees them differently, but they're there if you unhook your never ending rational dialogue and just let them in. Doesn't mean they're any good, but then that's not the question, are they any good to you? Does taking one (no matter how trite or unoriginal) lead to something more? Again on your terms? If you shoot images to match someone else's idea of photography you'd better be getting paid, because you're getting minimal personal artistic and emotional satisfaction from them (unless, of course, you are which is one of the conundrums of “life” and this shooting of pictures business).
What led to this shifting of gears last night kicked in walking back from breakfast. I shot perhaps twenty photographs on the way back, something I haven't done in a while, every one of them either copies of others I've shot (and not particularly good others, I must admit) or not particularly studied attempts at something a little different in familiar surroundings (how many times have I walked this path to and from breakfast?)
The thing wasn't in the images taken, but in the attitude. The attitude changes and you can then follow along to pretty much anywhere you have the imagination to find, not by thinking so much, as following your urges and taking chances; not rationally analyzing with words but following your emotions. It's not something you think about as such, but it is something that communicates with something other than words. Is it any good? Well, with time you'll figure that out so give it time and don't worry about what anyone other than you thinks about them.
So all these pictures you're posting are “pretty hot stuff”?
Everything I'm posting is crap. Nothing wrong with crap if you're generating it with the right attitude. I went to the Chinese New Year Parade for whatever reason tired and flat. No stopping to clear the head (or check the setting on the cameras, unfortunately), no stopping the internal dialogue and just listening. Life will not end for my failure, the life of photography will go on without me, another governor will be elected, the national news will continue to be crap with or without a clever picture from me.
Are we depressed?
You're only depressed when you don't understand the problem. Sometimes you get a glimpse as I did last night of what it is you're doing wrong. Doesn't mean you'll make changes, just means you see the problem and seeing the problem generally gives a glimmer of light to this depression business.
Later. A walk downtown shooting the occasional picture, none of them of particular interest, but the attitude right, noticing cherry blossoms in bloom along Grand (out of focus cherry blossoms in this case). Isn't it a little early for cherry blossoms, the San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival taking place in April, for example? Are those not cherry blossoms? We were talking about attitude so you can understand I chalk these photographs whatever their quality up to the good. And walking is the only thing I seem willing to do to keep in shape. To keep in some shape. To bring the concept of “keeping in shape” into the dialogue. Something like that.