Paul Lester picked up on a comment I made over on AJesse's blog, in the comments on this blog post. Anita was mourning the loss of images, when she had suffered a double disk failure. I was reminded about an idea I'd had a few months ago, as an exercise in enjoying the process, rather than the end results. I had wondered if it would be interesting to go and shoot, to the best of your ability, to be fully engaged in the process, then just format the cards without looking at the results.
I originally had the idea after a morning shooting at Tybee Island. I talk about that shoot here. Somewhere in the back of my head was also the notion of art is a verb that Paul Butzi has written about. Paul himself doesn't suggest such an extreme position, but it might be a logical conclusion to draw. If the process can be just as important as the end product, do we always need the product ? Can you just let go and enjoy making the pictures ? Let go of the results ? Shooting at Tybee was liberating - I felt euphoric, running in and out of the ocean. My camera had connected me to that place and the experience was wonderful. I wouldn't have had the experience if I hadn't been fully engaged in making those pictures. But did I need to see the resulting images ? Would I be content with just the memories ? I think I would be. Just never quite had the nerve to try. I'm sure many of you think this is a crazy idea. Think that photography is all about creating the final image. But on occasions, I just get so caught up in enjoying making the pictures that I'm not sure I need to see the payoff at the end. Or experience the disappointment when they don't live up to what I thought they might be. Children can get a lot of mileage out of playing with an empty camera. I find play to be a big part of when I really enjoy photography. But, as adults, we are always so focused on the final image. Now, I'm not suggesting you should do this. I'm certainly not advocating doing it all the time. But maybe, occasionally, thinking about enjoying the journey might be as valuable as looking forward to the destination. If you try it let me know. If I ever get around to trying it, I'll let you know!