I was in a bit of a creative block today.
I have so many things I want to photograph and create that at times I find it overwhelming. On top of that, when I do create work that I feel really satisfied with I have this moment of pride and joy and then the terror of oh God, what am I going to do next? To take a photograph is one aspect of photography, to make a photograph is another. Making a photograph, a process I have been sharing in more and more detail on my Instagram stories, requires a harmony of light, technical knowledge, talent and what feels like a billion…painful…gut wrenching decisions. Sometimes when I’m starting out my day setting up the camera I can feel paralyzed with the daunting amount of decisions that are ahead. Internal monolog: “What’s the theme today, what do I want to communicate, what prop do I want to use, what do I have lying around, what is missing, what does it need, where should the shadows fall, which lens, which aperture, should their be one petal…two… five… ten?… maybe turned a hair to the left, no get rid of them all. God, what I did yesterday was so much better. Did I just peak?…” For example.
A few times the past few months I’ve given in and continued my series on the history of Versailles in an attempt to bury my head in a pillow. But most days I just take a deep breathe and try to quiet my mind down to one thing. Just start with one thing. That’s my best advice for anyone stuck with where to begin, with what to photograph. I have found that once I get my camera set up, choose that one thing (today I started with plums) the wheels start turning and one thing leads to another, as it does in life, and voila! You are on the move making the decisions that were so crippling moments before. The one thing doesn’t have to be a prop either, or subject matter, you can start with just say a lens. I’m going to shoot with my macro lens. You make that first decision and then that leads to the next and so on. Other times I have just started with a spot of beautiful light raking across the floor, well the floor was dirty so I covered it, then I found something I had lying around that could play in the light and I was off to the races.
This still life started with plums and ended with a concept around an Autumn harvest, a sort of chaotic cornucopia which is a pretty accurate representation of where my mind was today. I raided my fruit bowls, tore apart my bouquets and foraged for more figs from the garden. Then, in one of the ways photography can truly become magical, a bee flew in the windows and landed right in my still life and I was once again, satisfied.