If you’ve read my blog or know me personally you know I struggle ever so much with finding a direction for my work. There’s a strong part of my artistic side that truly believes to be successful I need to find a signature style and specific project to focus on, follow through and complete.
I don’t know what my problem is with finding this so difficult. Much of what I’ve read and discussed with other photographers or artists suggests to just go out and shoot and shoot some more, and you will fall into what interests you. Well, I’ve been shooting off and on, some years more consistently than others, since 2001 and still can’t seem to find my place.
Granted those first few years I mainly shot when I was on vacation but by 2004 I took a few classes at the Chicago Photography Center; I was shooting, developing and printing with film. So, I was attempting to get more serious about the fine art aspect of where I wanted to go with my photography. Though still no clear direction on subject matter or projects and not quite sure I had specific style, I’m still not sure I do.
Then from 2007-2011 I got a bit side-tracked and pretty much only shot portrait sessions. While this was a great experience, and I still do this to some extent, it’s not my main goal with where I want to head.
In late 2009 through most of 2010 a friend, and fellow photographer, and I decided to do a 365 day photo challenge where we would take, edit and post to FB one image per day for that year. This was great in so many ways. It held me accountable, it was great to get feedback and it made me realize just how much I missed doing the type of photography that got me interested in it in the first place.
While I didn’t set the goal of one subject matter, the only rule I made for myself was to avoid using any portrait work for these shots. I didn’t come to any grand conclusions at the end of this year about where specifically I was headed with photography. All I knew was that I wanted to cut back on portraiture and start finding out where and what I really wanted to be doing photographically. At least this was a move in the right direction.
I know what I don’t particularly like to shoot, so does ruling things out get me any closer? I’m not sure. But at least I know what type of photography not to spend my time on.
For the last year I’ve tried to get back to shooting for the fun of it and I think I may be in the beginnings of a project idea. I am in the early stages of developing where this is going, if anywhere, but maybe holding myself accountable by posting about it and sharing it with you will keep me focused. So here it goes…
Lately I find myself drawn to streetlamps, not entirely sure why, but they are, for the most part, entirely overlooked, but so completely relied upon, especially in a large city. When I visit my family in rural Wisconsin I’m reminded of just how dark it is out there and how much I’ve gotten used to the bright city lights, and how much more comfortable I feel here. Something about that complete darkness now makes me nervous. That’s all probably grounds for a psych eval, haha!
Anyhow…there’s something about the simplicity and minimalist appearance of how I’ve been trying to shoot this subject. I still have a loooong way to go with this idea but it’s a start.
As so many of us now seem hooked on Instagram, I am too! There’s an aspect of this project I want to incorporate by using this fun technology. This image below is the start of another idea within this overall theme. Power lines, phone lines…all necessary and again generally forgotten until something goes wrong.
One final concept to tie into this theme, that I’m a bit on the fence about including in this particular project…other urban elements that we overlook on a daily basis…graffiti, items that have been left behind…I’m still working this part out.
Well, I’m still working it all out, but it’s a start. I like the idea of exploring everything we overlook, particularly with how busy all of our lives seem to be and how engrossed everyone is in their smart phones and other distracting technology, it seems we rarely notice much of anything anymore and maybe it’s time to shine some light on what we may be missing…