Putting Some Play Back Into My Work
June 06, 2013 • Leave a Comment
It’s late autumn in the Colorado Rockies. That means the leaves have left the trees, most of the foliage is brown or tan, spotty snow covers the ground and it’s cold. It’s sort of an in-between time. It doesn’t look like fall and it doesn’t really look like winter either. These in-between seasons can make landscape photography difficult. It’s just not as photogenic (pretty) as I would like to see it.
I’m experiencing a type of in-between season in other ways as well. If you’re acquainted with Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs you’ll understand what I mean. Whole college courses have been developed on this concept but, in a nutshell, he proposes that a person can’t really be “Self-Actualized” (read creative or artistic) until other, more basic, needs are satisfied. In other words, you can’t be at the top-of-your-game creatively if you’re wondering how you’re going to pay your rent. While this concept is a broad generalization to be sure, I can personally testify to its validity in my situation. I’m enough of a “Type A Personality” to know that without a fairly healthy bank account I’ll feel guilty about going skiing or pretty much any other “non-productive” activity. Not everyone is like this but I am.
For the past couple of years I have not felt as creative or productive artistically as I would like. This bothers me. I know that if I felt more comfortable financially I could take a few more risks, do some traveling, live on the edge a little and become excited again about my artistic endeavors. Well, that’s not going to happen. At least it’s not happening soon enough for me. I’ll just have to find a way to get my MoJo back with less money in the bank and some lack of security.
I’ve discussed this problem with some other artists who have or are going through this same “dry spell”. Their reasons may be different but basically, they just aren’t producing new work that they’re thrilled with. Crested Butte photographer Raynor Czerwinski has been an extremely supportive influence in my “getting back to work” plan. He recommended some reading material from other photographers that has really helped put me back on track. It seems (to me) that I’m not alone. Most photographers go through these “in-between” seasons with their work. It helps to know I’m not alone. One great book on the subject is Brooks Jensen’s “Letting Go of the Camera”. This series of essays is a great way to connect with issues most of us have gone through or will go through in a career in photography. One of my favorite chapters in Letting Go is titled “Work & Play”. I had forgotten that what I really loved about my “Work” was that it felt like play. Lately it’s felt like work. I need to get that feeling of play back into my work. It’s time to climb out of the rut and reevaluate the destination, maybe veer off-course for a while or turn in a new direction. That’s why folks who follow my work are seeing some new types of work like the image above. I’m not certain whether this technique is the direction I’m taking or just a detour but it has brought a little “Play” back into my work.
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