“photography is an art of observation. it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.
// elliott erwitt //
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I feel that there has been a greater emphasis on photography of late. More and more I’ve noted a lovely abundance of articles surrounding this topic; in particular the act of improving it. No, I don’t mean pieces produced by specific photography blogs and websites. Bloggers from all walks of life have been sharing their thoughts and insights with their readers, mostly on what they’ve learned thus far such as these incredibly insightful posts from Coat and Coffee and In The Frow. Such topics are always a joy to read because you always manage to come away with a new bag of tricks to use on your next foray.
While there has been significant emphasis on the internets and throughout social media over this, I’ve also felt the significance from within. And not in a good way. You see, I’ve always enjoyed photography and being able to capture moments. Be it a jubilant scene amongst friends or an enraged sea battering and puckering against the shore. With the expansion and accessibility of social media over the years, I used to enjoy perusing through my own Instagram feed and noting the differences and dramatic improvement within my capture and exposure of photos. But these days I feel as though there has been little to no progress at all, and at times I wonder if perhaps I’ve shockingly taken a few steps back. For example since returning home from my recent American travels, there has been a notable difference in my photos, one that is lackadaisical and below par in comparison.
And why is this so?
Am I lost to a spate of unfortunate luck? Or have I misplaced that inner sense of vision and inspiration? Lighting is key to any vibrant photograph but more and more I find I am struggling most with this because it’s practically nonexistent in my presence. My home has never been an ideal locale. The majority of that prized northerly light is blocked by an adjacent home. So finding a small nook to get creative with is essentially a lottery.
I feel like I just can’t win nor can I catch a break! And because of this nuisance state, I’ve found myself being careless and utterly discontent, more so with Instagram as I feel a certain pressure from within to perform and continually publish quality content. And thus the joy I once had for this platform has been greatly reduced, shifting from a space for sheer excitement and creativity to something more menacing and stressful. Lately my best, is just not my best. My feed has been compromised by my poor judgement and photographic inadequacy. It’s an uneven patchwork of sorts. Snippets of luminous distinction overshadowed by lackluster forms. And while this may seem frivolous to some, the inner perfectionist in me cringes at such things. To physically publish something under par is akin to a sort of blasphemy to me. As an outlet for my creativity I yearn for it to reflect so and thus strive for a particular feel and mood. But what that exactly is, I’m not so sure I even know anymore either? And maybe therein lies the real problem.
It’s not the lack of lighting or inspiration, but the identity or the vision.