Tuesday, October 21, 2008

sofobomo, motivation, rambling, angst


I've felt a bit lost in my photography recently. Surgery and recovery have no doubt not helped, but I don't feel that I'm making the progress in the directions I'd like to move. Problem is I'm not sure what those directions are. Often it seems easier to define what I want to do by looking at the negative spaces. I can more easily describe the areas of photography that I'm not interested in doing, than clearly point towards what I do want to do.

The one thing I do know, is I _do_ want to do. The enthusiasm is there. The itch is back with a vengeance. Reading about photography, looking at photography, thinking about it. All there, just not so much of the doing for now.

Someone recently asked when was the last good picture I'd taken and looking back over the year, it is clearly the SoFoBoMo images that I turn to as my favourites. But that was back in March and April. Have I really not done anything satisfying since then? There have been a few shoots that I enjoyed - the red nose portraits, the creative lighting class, but mostly I feel like I've been cooling my heels and not heading in the direction I want to go (wherever that might be).

So I feel lost in a maze of twisty passages, all alike. Clear ideas of where I don't want to go but no ideas for where I do want to go. Anyone have a map? I think the differentiating thing about SoFoBoMo was that it was a cohesive body of work. The project helped the images hang together, at least in my mind, making them more interesting. The closest similar shots are the red nose portraits. Funny each in isolation, but stronger together due to the common element.

I have several project ideas floating around, but I seem to be unable or unwilling to commit the time required to find out if they are any good. Not sure why - typical artistic fear? Or maybe I just haven't got a well enough defined idea of what they should be. I feel like I'm waiting for something to land in my lap, rather than pushing forward towards... something... that I don't really know what it is.

My brief foray into sketching has brought me to some interesting blogs and websites that I wouldn't have looked at before. A couple of articles worth reading on finding inspiration or generating ideas, for example.

Next step would be finding the courage of my convictions and shooting something for more than a day or two. Maybe I need something like SoFoBoMo to push me onwards. Anyone ready for round two?


forkboy said...

Inspiration is such an intangible quality. Elusive. Evasive. But other times it smacks one up-side the head and screams in your ear.

I'm involved with a small group of Flickr friends who came up with a subject-a-month thing. This month was my turn and I selected self-portraiture because it's the one thing I wouldn't otherwise do.

Maybe that's the path to inspiration: the one less traveled?

Paul said...

Honestly, I don't know if I'm ready for another round of SoFoBoMo. The last one did me in. After I finished it, I just had no creative energy left for several weeks/months. It was tough for some reason.

I still get the inkling to put cohesive bodies of work together, but get so wrapped up in going out and shooting day-to-day that it's really hard to sit in front of the computer and put things together. Perhaps I'll do it much after the fact. Perhaps. :-)

I understand the feelings of "should" do this and that, but I try to thing that I'm doing exactly what I should be.

I'm sure that you'll come up with something to entertain yourself. ;-)

Unknown said...

Hi Mark, thanks for commenting. That's certainly an interesting idea. Reminds me of the Oblique Strategy cards from Brian Eno

Unknown said...

Hi Paul - I agree, I don't think I'm quite ready for SoFoBoMo again. I wonder if there is something smaller that could be tackled - or maybe I just need to go do it anyway.

forkboy said...


You can get the all five editions of the cards as an app for the iPhone or iTouch.

I wonder if Mr. Eno ever saw that coming?