carmenanicia asked: Regarding you writing posts, I personally love to see what other photographers go through, that it's not only me that has struggles with being a photographer and such. I like to read peoples processes, it motivates and inspirers me, sometimes gives me a push to create work. I also want to say that I really enjoy your work!
Well hey there,
YES! I think that spirit of like minded people struggling and striving and failing and occasionally succeeding is really important for artists. Or at least, it’s really important to me. I’m always trying to figure people out and deconstruct how people work. I grew up in Alabama. While it has a wonderful artistic spirit in its own way, but a strong communal aspect has never been one of its strengths. Most artists in Alabama (and I’m speaking about all kinds of art - music, painting, film, etc.) have a streak of outsider in them, and it shows through in their voices. Lots and lots of people learning and creating in isolation.
When I first started becoming interested in photography about two years ago, I remember feeling so overwhelmed by it. I liked it, but I didn’t really know anyone else doing it. I couldn’t figure it out. I didn’t know who to talk to or even what to ask. So I turned to the internet. I’d spend all kinds of crazy hours in college on the internet jumping from one link to the next and really just getting lost in the things that were piquing my interest. Obviously, this shaped my taste, but it also made reverse engineering a really huge part of the way I worked. Looking at photos or other pieces of art, and trying to figure out and deconstruct what my attraction (artistically and technically) to them was. It’s a fun detective game to work backwards. Occasionally you’ll figure out that tricky light set up you were trying to emulate, but the best stuff happens when you can’t figure it out and accidentally do your own thing.
When I was painting a lot more actively, this was always important to me too. I’d run my hands lightly over the surfaces of paintings in my house or at festivals to feel the texture. I’d look for clues in the little brush marks left behind in the dried paint. So there’s this huge curiosity aspect to some a lot of the techniques I’m trying, but then there’s also this mood that comes through even when you’re trying all these different things to learn and grow. That part is really exciting when you start to see your own little thumbprint appearing across all this work, and you’re sort of like, “Hey, this is all starting to feel like ‘me’…” That’s a pretty cool feeling when you realize you can’t really filter out the “You-ness”. It can give you a lot of confidence to start trying even more things.
I wouldn’t really say I have a process. People close to me *might* say that I need the pressure. I need to go a little bit crazy, and then somehow end up pulling the shoot out of my butt at the last second. Not a very sexy process though is it? I’ll give you an example. Earlier this week, I had a shoot. I’d just come off a really long week, and truthfully I was a little burned and demotivated about the shoot. It’s the night before, and I’m feeling a little underprepared. I’m also exhausted though, and I decided some sleep might be better than pulling an all nighter stressing about it. So I went to sleep that night, and I had nightmares all night about my lack of prep, specifically about not having the gear I needed to pull it off. Shaken up by the bad dreams, I got up early and made a 2 hour trip that morning to rent the lights that I needed. In the end, it was totally worth it, and I don’t know how I would’ve pulled it off without them. My point is, for me, that stress is part of what helps. I like the pressure. Well actually I hate it, but y’all know what I mean.
You know, I really have no idea where I was going with that. I slept in my car behind a gas station last night so I may not be extremely lucid. Anyways…
Yeah, struggles are great. I struggle all the time. It’s a constant struggle, and I really think to be successful you just have to mentally accept that. I’m 22 and already getting gray hair. There are a lot of mistakes to be made, but you can’t be afraid to make them. Success or even change is something I really only ever notice in hind sight. It’s been a bat-shit crazy year for me, but I’m really only realizing it now. Keep your eyes forward, and keep moving even when it looks tough. Be sure to pause every once in a while and look back on what just happened. Growth and progress are very sneaky.
Thanks for checking out the work!