3.11.2010

The mechanics of hitting the wall.

I don't know about you but the last three years have sure taken a toll on me.  I sublimated the fear and feelings of anxiety and career desperation by writing books.  Lots of books.  Four in a row.  And the time in between was jittery and uncertain.   Lately, it's starting to seem as though a long drought is breaking and photographic work is starting to flow.  But you can't live through a social upheaval like the last two or three years without a certain amount of the residue sticking with you.  I confess that I feel burned out.   And really, it's the waiting and the indecision and ambiguity that wears a person down.

I just finished two photographic projects with a great ad agency and I feel comfortable enough to take a solo vacation.  Really more of an extended weekend.  Baby steps.  I'm leaving today for points west.  I'll be visiting friends in Marfa for a day but for the most part I'll be cruising around with a bag full of cameras and no real agenda.  I'm leaving today and I'll be back next week some time.  I asked the boy if he wanted to drive through the desert and mountains for five or six days with me and he gave me that kind yet sad teenage head shake.  Didn't relish the role of free assistant/talent.

I'm not testing any lenses.  I'm not focused on making technically great photographs.  I'm sure not writing to a template and a tight deadline.  I'm just going to take it mile by mile and snap a few pics of things that make me smile or make me frown.  I'm not taking a computer.  I won't be checking e-mail.  I don't have an iPhone.  I won't be checking texts.  I have a rudimentary cellphone and I'll call home to make sure the wife and the boy and the dog are fine.

There's no client for this trip so I'm doing it like a Texas, college Spring Break trip.  Toss a sleeping bag in the back of the Honda Element, pull a couple hundred bucks out of the bank and go with a vague schedule. Sleep, eat, drive, shoot.  What-a-burger?  Dairy Queen?  Bag of granola?

Cameras?  I'll take some.  All little pixie sensor cameras.  A small bag of pixie system lenses.  A tripod.
A bucket of batteries.  No studio flash.  No stands.  No umbrellas.  Nothing that feels like work.  It's the new Pixie Camera Aesthetic.

Remember all that stuff about Minimalism?  That's what we're aiming for.  If I make it back I'll start blogging about it next Thurs. As they say on Star Trek, "Kirk out."

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17 comments:

Dennis Elam said...

Sleeping bag in the Honda Element? We are not 19 anymore, your back is not minimalist equipment.......

J said...

I wish you a nice trip, and hopefully that mindset will show you new perspectives and a new visual language that might surprise you (and us as well).

Pete Appleby said...

I really empathize with you on this, Kirk. The past few years have been brutal, and it seems that we are just starting to turn the corner a bit. Sometimes the burn out seems to be too much. Like you mentioned, the uncertainty seems to be the worst part. Problems in normal times get worked out over time, thanks to a somewhat stable income. We can usually dig ourselves out of out holes. But its not so certain in these times.

I love the idea of a road trip. The wife and I took a road trip on the harley up the California coast to visit her family over Thanksgiving. Just getting out and away was a huge relief. Seeing family that we had not seen in a couple of years was great. A taking a lot of photos of beautiful scenery was a great attitude adjustment.

I hope the road trip cures what ails you!

Steve Burns said...

In the past, I've done trips similar to what you are doing. They were wonderful days. Two or three days in a tent and sleeping bag, then a day in a motel, and so on. Up to shoot the wheat harvest in Montana, trips trough New Mexicao etc. Wonderful times, and my aching back never felt better.

"...you can't live through a social upheaval like the last two or three years without a certain amount of the residue sticking with you. I confess that I feel burned out. And really, it's the waiting and the indecision and ambiguity that wears a person down..."

You have put so elequently what I, and others I'm sure, have been feeling. Things have been so down at times, I've just never taken the time to figure out why.

Enjoy your trip.

mike said...

now that's what i call a great vacation, can't wait to see what you come with. In reference to the post from d.elam i can relate to that, my back hurts thinking about it

Anonymous said...

LOL above!!!

Go for it, i burn out every other day running my own firm... making sure clients have what they need when they need it... always trying to exceed expectations.

There is a very interesting video on TED.com about Genius and creativity:

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html

I am not a very religious man, however the pilgrimages, sabbaticals etc. described often teach me how to rediscover myself, or how to prepare for something. Quite often what we learn is the pilgrimage isn't about where you are going but how you get there.

In 2008 i learnt a valuable lesson, my wife and I (we run the business together) packed everything up and went travelling round SE Asia for 4 months... from sandy tropical beaches to rainforests... cities and villages to deserts. The most valuable lesson i took home with me, was that the world didn't notice we were gone, but were glad we were back.

I think the uncertainty of the creative field leads to a great amount of unnecessary stress, so enjoy your sabbatical

Ab

Mark Crowley said...

Have a great trip, and come back safe and refreshed

steveH said...

Don't have too much fun!

Ct Photo said...

Enjoy it sounds like the perfect vacation

Anonymous said...

Go with the wind! But safely. Breath deep,open your being to the journey.Bring back pix! No deadline. Soonest. LOL.
TY for gr8t site.

Gene Trent said...

Way to go Kirk. Have a great time and shoot whatever catches your eye. My favorite kind of refresh retreat!

Peter Frailey said...

Can't wait to hear of your adventures. The Element is a great little gear-car. My step son has one. I'm on my third min-van, with middle seat removed. Great for gear. But like the prior comment, no sleeping in sleeping bags for me anymore!

Peter F

Bold Photography said...

I'm very jealous of this trip! Have a great time, sleeping bag and all... I'd love to be an unpaid assistant on a trip like that.

kirk tuck said...

Peter and others: The sleeping bag thing worked out really well. Good down to at least 15 (f). I survived nicely.

kirk tuck said...

To Bernard, don't underestimate the value of time alone. It may be the best thing you can do for a good marriage. But don't take my word on it since B. and I are just celebrating our 25th in April....

kirk tuck said...

The seats in the Element did okay. 1200 miles and no back issues....yet.

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