(I don’t think that’s an actual word, but it is for the point of this post)
Last night I got to attend the QORF Recreation Awards dinner. I had entered an old photo of mine, which I renamed to “Colourful Outlook” for the sake of the incredibly small title-boxes on the entry form. Entering at the 11th hour, I threw that image, and another unreleased image into the ring and left the rest to fate. Turns out, it wasn’t half bad and I got an email a little over two weeks later, advising me that I was a Finalist and that I had free dinner ticket to the awards waiting for me. Woohoo. After years of entering this award and getting nowhere – and then seeing the pictures in brochures everywhere (terms of entry mean they have unlimited use) this was a welcome change. I’ll cut a long story short and confirm that I won my category, “Natural Wonders”, getting me a nice little sum of cash to invest, as my rule goes, towards other photography-related expenses.
The elation of that is still very much with me, but I must remain focused. A few little goalposts are quickly approaching, and they’re the ones that told me to have, pretty-much, a near-complete folio of Iceland photos, completed by the end of October, in preparation for the Christmas gift-giving season.
Awards aside, there comes a point where you have to sit down and look at your creations.
I’m not saying this isn’t a pleasant thing, but you have to look at them like they’re children. You have to set expectations for them, judge their overall appeal to others and make sure they exceed whatever expectations you set for them. There’s a part of you in every one of them. You’re attached to them, you created them, but you still have to be objective about their true worth. What do they have that others’ don’t?
It’s this personal connection that makes it hard to ignore everything you know about them, and position them next to the quality of an image (yes I’m talking about my photographs) that represents where you want to be, or the quality that you’re striving for. Every image is different and was not created equal. It’s this continuous cycle that has been occupying my thoughts as my Iceland portfolio has progressed. I’ve seen some amazing stuff, photographed some amazing stuff, and now the learnings are just starting to sink in…
I can see where I should’ve gotten closer…
Used a different lens…
Used filters to slow the shutter speed…
And kicked myself for letting the weather get in the way of a good photo!
My initial processing style has not been regimented like it once was. I have been hopping from day to day, image to image, and sometimes, software to software. I’ve got everything I need at my disposal, yet it’s still so time, energy and patience consuming. Over the coming months, I don’t see this process getting any faster, I’ve still got thousands of images to work through , Panoramas to stitch and HDRs to compile.
It’s the seeing of other photographers’ work that’s starting to intimidate me.
I haven’t been very active on other photography communities, I haven’t gotten out since Iceland and taken any photos. There’s a reason though, I still feel like there’s a hidden gem waiting for me to discover it, buried deep in my processing.
Priorities, have changed. Those who know me personally know that over the last year and three-quarters know that I’ve transformed myself from a lazy chubby photographer, to somewhat of a fitness freak. I’m loving the time away from the computer, but it does mean that my motivation to get up at the crack of dawn, drive (in my now rather dodgy car) 100km+ to a beach, and shoot, is non-existant. Combine that with having seen the most amazing landscapes, light and photographic-fodder on the earth, thus far, and put that against the town you’ve lived in all your life. I feel like I’m in no rush to finish this Iceland portfolio, that it’s the silly little excuse for not getting out and taking more photos in this little region called South-East Queensland.
Ironically, I’ve had multiple requests for images of the city. This is something I have tried to avoid photographing in recent years because well, it’s where every photographer goes to learn. I spent many days and nights trawling around the city for an interesting image. Recently, I’ve only taken one interesting picture of the city, and it’s not been for the brief that everyone wants. Probably time to correct that.
I feel awkwardly stuck between Hobbyist and Professional. There’s a slow stream of awards and recognition starting to flow in. The years of trying to make this happen have finally come to fruition, like planting a lemon tree five years ago and just starting to see the first fruits…
What I do know, is that I need a new inspiration, something new to do while i’m not living holiday to holiday. I feel if I put the camera down for too long, Ill forget what its like to get out and take photos. To concentrate and take photos. It’s too easy just to take a camera where you’re going and take snaps. TIme to dust off the motivation, take a shot of inspriation and get shooting again. Anyone keen to join?
I don’t actually expect anyone to react to this post. I think this one is for me. But there’s nothing censored in here. Nothing that I’m not willing to share with a larger audience. We all have to sit down and be critical of ourselves and our work, it’s too easy to get a big head, and then be disappointed by the reception of our work. Being humble is a huge part of it all. I have to accept that my children (images) will not be everyones flavour. I have to accept that as long as they have a place in my portfolio, they’re a representation of my skills. And if they’re not good enough, sure. It’s all subjective.