Finding a flow…

Sometimes finding a flow to a place (or shots) can be quite frustrating because we can end up worrying if we’ve fallen into a rut. I usually end up worrying about this quite a bit as a result, mostly because it comes all to naturally for me. Falling into a rut isn’t any fun at all and it makes us, myself especially, more susceptible to the criticisms we face from others and even from ourselves…the ones that say we’ve been faking it all along & we’ll never get a good shot again. I’ve faced those criticisms more times than I can count, most coming from myself after a run of bad shots.

The thing is, and I’m almost 100% sure of this, we’ve come to the point in society & culture that we know how others will react, so we can then learn how to forge a way through to the shots we want without letting the outside world pigeonhole us. We need to find a certain flow to how we work that will still allow good advice from others help us along while getting past what keeps us growing & finding a certain flow. Getting stuck in a rut isn’t fun at all, especially if it just seems like nothing’s going to work at all; finding a way out of it usually takes a single idea or concept and then we have to just run with it, creating a flow around it.

Sometimes, we just have to get out for that flow to come to us because all it takes is one little idea to get the creative juices flowing. We get negative about the state of the world and it easily causes us to forget why we enjoy photography, putting us in a kind of rut. Being in a flow is more like getting shot after shot that works well and seems to buck the likeliness of a rut where nothing seems to work. At the same time, it should also keep us learning & trying different things with how we present the subject in our photographs.

Just thinking…

Taking time to think & reflect on what we’ve become through the years is a good thing, especially when we think about the results of our decisions. The thing about it is that we all leave a legacy and it comes down to what kind of impression we want to make on those around us. Are we prepared for the fallout of our decisions? I’d be lying if I would say I’m completely prepared for the fallout, especially over the many missteps & dumb mistakes I’ve made over the years.

That’s the beauty of photography, and art in general…It gives us an outlet to express ourselves and take a break from letting the world drain us. Other things do as well (our beliefs, families, friends, etc.), but photography adds, onto that, a visually expressive outlet. I guess that’s part of the reason why a simple snapshot just doesn’t cut it for me, most of the time; why just snap & run if I can slow down & soak up a bit of what’s around me? For quite some time, I was told, by a few people, that, because I used a 5-megapixel zoom camera, I was just using a fake DSLR and was only taking snapshots; it was my outlet for photography and I’m beginning to realize that an attitude of who cares in regards to those critical opinions was justified. When moving to a DSLR, my outlet, in gear, changed, but my mind didn’t; it wasn’t dependent on gear, but craft & vision and a certain, slightly rough attitude towards the critics was somewhat warranted…the key is to take it in & grow from it, not just toss it aside. Listening to them too tightly can void any hint of photography being an outlet, something it nearly did for me, on several occasions.

Sometimes, just thinking about what’s happened along the proverbial road can be a blessing in disguise, especially when things don’t work out the way we thought they would. We, myself included, can easily get distracted by how wrong things went and then forget the good that came out of it. Past mistakes & missteps can really hurt, but they can sometimes point to a better, brighter future because they guide us along a path that can, ultimately, bring us out of the bad spot we might be in…They force us to change, or modify, what we’re doing so that we get to where we’re supposed to get to.

Dealing with fruitcakes…

Everyone loves a good fruitcake…or hates it even if it is good. But I’m not going to dwell on that kind of fruitcake, the edible kind; I was thinking of the kind that’s a gear nut and always sticks to the rules when it comes to photography. They come in with advice that sounds a lot like a marketing ploy to buy the latest gear and live & die by the so-called ‘rules of composition’ that can restrict creativity; we’ve all been there, done that. Dealing with them is another problem because it can often lead to people completely forgetting who they are and just following the crowd, loosing uniqueness along the way.

Uniqueness is something that we take for granted sometimes because we think that because we’re a physically separate person, we’re unique. It’s more so, in the arts, about being different from the crowd, standing out and having something different, however slight or great, to say to the world around us. The typical way of things being done is like the old Relient K song, Wit’s All Been Done Before, lyric: “Yeah we do something to death/Then we dig it up just to do it some more.” We tend to just repeat something because it works and not really think it over (something I’m readily guilty of at times), but uniqueness is putting something new out there or putting it out there with a new perspective. Getting back to the idea of dealing with fruitcakes, they tend to say to stick with what’s safe on what we do, imposing their set of rules, taking uniqueness out of the image; use them as guidelines, not set-in-stone rules/laws.

So, how do we end up dealing with these critics/fruitcakes? The one thing for me that sticks out is that, like I’ve probably said before, is that if the criticism isn’t constructive and doesn’t offer anything that is at least of some help, then we know that it’s probably not really good to follow it too closely. Uniqueness should be tops, under vision, and it’s sometimes better not to get too defensive that we end up missing constructive criticism and growth usually won’t happen as easily as if we didn’t miss the helpful criticism to begin with.