Back writing at The Union Market and I have a problem. Sure I have loads of problems but for the purposes of this exercise I am focusing on one. My photography is wholly uninspired. For four years now I have set adrift atop the inevitable plateau of your talent’s going no where. No gains, no challenges, no growth. Only the muscle memory motions of habit fueled machinations left manufacturing the same caliber of work over and over and over again. It’s a cycle of mediocrity. This plain, man. It’s endless. I need off.
Feeling certain something has to give what are my options? Well let’s work the problem with a good old fashion bulleted list. We’ll even pretend it’s whiteboard style. To address my photographic dead end I could:
- Quit—pack it in, drop this hobby and drift upon the breeze until something new falls in my lap; this is both decidedly passive and incredibly on brand.
- Maintain status quo—stick to my modus operandi and don’t change a damn thing. Hover where I’m at but continue to find the most joy writing for the photos I make; this, too, is an extremely Greg thing to do.
- Buy new gear—the capitalist equivalent to let’s have a child to fix our relationship; the short term gain to long term pain.
- Identify a challenge—settle on a new photographic skill or technique; considering I only make landscapes and flower macros with the occasional bug thrown in I have mountains to climb.
- Step out of my comfort zone—mix it up, meet new people; if you’re the smartest person in the room, find a new room. The surest path to improvement is to surround yourself with people better and more capable than you. Learn from others who’ve been in your shoes. Worn soles long shot, weary treads long tired from their time atop the plateau. While I was never a great musician by any stretch, I got pretty damn good playing guitar, bass, and even the damn banjo, when I was jamming on the regular with musical types way more gifted and trained than me. Their juice finds its way into your bones by osmosis.
- Give a talk—combine some strengths! I am a shy ass person, few will say otherwise. Yet paradoxically I love to talk, especially in front of a live audience, and I’m good at it! Bringing together two skills into one thematic packable could be the juice I need right now. In the interest of full disclosure, I had a perfect opportunity to do this but totally flaked out. Great job, Greg. Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.
Even though I am not as yet clear on what I will or will not do, I am glad I wrote this down. It helps to get your thoughts out of your mind and onto paper. It creates some separation. Some breathing room to think it through with the problem feeling a little less up close and personal. Change perspective to be objective. Even if a thing looks good it may not be serving us. The question is whether the discomfort is strong enough to precipitate change.
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