Tuesday, November 3, 2015

What am I even doing anymore?

Couldn't have arrived in time to photograph this bit of clever street art at a better time of day.
Shot on the LG G4, 28mm, 1/600" @ f/1.8, ISO 50

I notice many of my favorite photographers and photographic projects have some sort of overarching story to tell. Their work isn't singular and disconnected as solitary pieces of exceptional work. Rather, it's a collection of above average to pretty-damn-good facilitating the narrative. Personally I'm trapped in this awkward inbetween stage of development in the craft wherein I can either specialize and go the way of the Fine Art Photographer (FAP, hehe) or chase the narrative and call it Lifestyle Photography. My muse vacillates wildly between the two depending on my mood at the time, more often than not leaning toward lifestyle work but holy crap is it hard to set aside the time to sort through photos and assemble a narrative. I don't want to upload sets to Flickr to share openly because they mean nothing without that underlying story and are thus merely above average photographs (maybe I'm too self critical, or perhaps taking my Flickr gallery too seriously).

Suppose the overarching point is I'd like to write more about the things I am doing, and I spend a lot of time lamenting my failure to share those stories. Normally I'm against permitting myself excuses, but in this case I'm going to squarely fault working constantly. All the time. 9 or 12 hour workdays in a claustrophobic office among people with whom I have nothing in common in an industry not in the slightest aligned with my personal ambitions. It's a pretty goddamn draining existence to deal with, and at all uncommon for me to be absolutely braindead by the time I get home with little interest in anything above eating dinner, playing a casual game or something equally less demanding of brainpower, and going to sleep. Motivation to do literally anything productive is just completely sapped because I've spent an entire day managing my own misery. I do this 5 days a week, and then when the weekend arrives I've saddled myself to the brim with photography work, which is infinitely more thrilling and motivating, and the struggle to make it a viable replacement for Misery Management is totally worth it, but it's also very time consuming and again I'm left with little bandwidth to express any narrative with the necessary agency to do it justice. Which is why pretty much every blog post you see from me is written while I'm at Misery Management with some down time between tasks.

And I've been up to some cool stuff lately. Took a trip to Philly, took some photos for the BGE Baltimore Before & After photo gallery and took a kid's portrait that wound up flaring up some weird emotions when casually posted to Reddit. I shot my friends on Halloween at a country bar with line dancing while they were dressed up like a donkey, a sock monkey, and Michael Vick's dog. Looking back on the last 3 weeks in such short and sweet terms reminds me that my life is awesome and totally worth sharing because there are lessons and discoveries to be made about life and people and relationships by recounting them. And damn does it seem greedy to be keeping that stuff to myself. Pretending there's some charm and appeal to being the mysterious photographer who wanders, aloof, in and out of life without any lasting imprint is bunk. I'm not mysteriously fading in and out, I'm simply working so much I don't have much time to actually exist as my own person instead of a means to someone else's end.

It's kind of early to be committing to New Year's resolutions (they're kind of dumb and arbitrary anyway...), but I suppose it's never too early to set a goal for myself to make the time to be me for more than scattered weekends at a time. I thought setting aside one weekend a month for myself was a great step forward, but in reality it's put into very clear context how much abuse I've been allowing myself to inflict upon... myself. I mean, for fuck's sake, who actually has to mark time off in a calendar to just be themselves.