Making the most of your time.

When I finish writing this blog I'll toss my cellphone in the top drawer of my desk, grab a camera and head out the door.  I don't always have a destination in mind but I know that just about anything I find outside my door will beat time wasted searching for the holy grail of technique on the web.

It may be that my life is too isolated.  As an advertising and corporate photographer there are blocks of time spent with groups of people making projects work and then blocks of time where nothing happens.  A few days into a period of inaction and I'm always presented with a choice.  On one side is the path of least resistance:  Let's see what Michael Reichmann says about the new Phase One back.  Let's see what Michael Johnston says about the new Koudelka book.  Let's see what the people on DPReview say about the new Nikon.

On the other side is the path of most resistance.  On this path the choices are:  (the bane of all creative people) Pick up the phone and schedule some portfolio shows.  Pick up the phone and call someone and beg them to come over and sit for a portrait.  Grab a camera and go out looking for something wonderful and interesting to shoot.  This path is much harder but in the long run it's a lot like weight lifting.  If you keep doing curls with a five pound weight it's hard to see much progress down the road.  A bit of heavy lifting and you can feel it the next day.  To build muscle you have to overcome the resistance.  To build creative muscle you have to leave the safety of the creative den.

I took some time off from blogging last week.  Too much seat time.  It only takes you five minutes to read one of these but it inevitably takes me forty minutes to think and write one.  I did client jobs and I did portfolio shows but mostly I walked around, met people and took images.  And it re-energized the way I feel about my work.

The one important thing I did for my art was to find this image (above), have a large print framed, and hang it over my desk.  It reminds me that I'll never find what I'm looking for in my own work if I'm glued to the computer.  Nice.

It reminds me to unplug and move.  Because at the core, photographers are like sharks.  When we stop moving we stop breathing.  And that's when we die.

Above image shot in Rome with a Mamiya Six MF rangefinder camera (square format), 50mm lens, Kodak T-max CN.


Mindless said...

Great advice! Thank you! :)

Patrick Dodds said...

Does it remind you to sit down with friends and have a game of cards? Very cathartic!
BTW, if you ever phoned me and begged me to come over for a portrait, were I in the States I'd be at your place faster than a whippet.

Frank Grygier said...

I might be having one of those near death experiences. I haven't moved in the direction of a photograph in a week. I struggle at times to find the sense in it. My new goal. Start at the beginning and take a picture of red things that are round.

Lukasz Kruk said...

Just as a side-note, this post to me is a complete opposite (ideologically at least) of the one I've just commented. Thanks.