I seem to have hit a rut in my photography. Today’s world is inundated and oversaturated with digital imagery, but few works stop and make me think, make me feel. Furthermore, there is a lack of motivation to create work since it appears that everything has been done before. Novel ideas or original work is hard to come by and while most work draws from past influences it is harder and harder to develop a unique style that isn’t simply a reproduction of someone else’s vision.
Creative block. That’s what I am classifying it as and I’ve been trying to find ways out of it. This is what I plan on doing: first, I want to expand my work with film photography; second, I want to focus on the scientific aspects of the art and share that knowledge with others.
Why film? That’s a tough question to answer without sounding cliché. Despite what everyone says about film being cool or how it makes you slow down and think or how they love the look that only film can give, working with film is terrible. It’s hard, there are so many opportunities for error, it’s slow, frustrating, costly, and has a host of other disadvantages. However, for me, film has one redeeming quality that makes the struggle worthwhile: I feel more attached to my work.
Unlike digital, with film I am very hands on through every part of the process: loading the film, shooting, unloading, developing, printing, and beyond. The artists hand is an intimate part of the entire process. With digital it’s a button push and hours moving a mouse around on a computer which is not a skill specific to photography. It is that investment that makes the frustration, mistakes, and losses hurt worse, but the success feels that much greater.
The second goal is to really take a deeper dive into the science behind photography. There is so much taken for granted when it comes to the technology behind the photograph. In order to both get to know my own gear better and resist gear acquisition syndrome I want to explore what it takes to get great photographs. In this testing and research I want to force myself to take more pictures that push the limits of the resources available to me as well as push me outside of my comfort zone. Most importantly I want this aspect to be more collaborative in nature. As such, I want to create videos explaining different fundamental photography areas to share with others (some of the best learning comes when you have to teach the subject to someone).
It will be interesting to see how these goals effect my photography.
First video below: