Woke up this morning in the undecided category.

 I envy those people who have one overriding sense of purpose in life. One all important goal at which to aim. They can wake up in the morning, drink their orange juice, and just get the ball rolling in the same direction they always have. Not so easy for those of us who intentions and interests are divided. (Just for the record, I absolutely hate orange juice. I am not anti-orange but orange juice seems to me to be disgusting, and always too sweet).

I woke up this morning and felt a wash of frustration froth over me. I love taking portraits. I love writing. I love walking around town with a camera in my hands; not in endless pursuit of the ghosts of H.C.B. or Robert Frank but as an observational walking meditation. The problem for those of us with multiple interests (those who've taken off their culturally induced career blinders) is that to excel at either portraiture or writing I think one has to commit and make a singular pursuit a priority. But, of course, I'm from the generation that wants it all and, in truth, has been fairly successful in getting most of it.

The pursuit of cameras, as Michael Johnston is engaged in on his wonderful blog, is a great way to sidetrack one's self into not deciding anything at all. You can research, test, buy, review and re-sell cameras all day long and they become their own occupation --- separate from taking the photographs you think you'd like to take.

Part of my ennui is that I'm satisfied with the cameras I have right now. Even the lesser cameras like the G85. Part of my lack of motivation to push photography harder in the business realm is that I'm not really forced into the hot pursuit of money. The issue with getting a second novel out is the same issue every dilettante writer has; it's hard as hell to get started ---- again and again and again.

Some days, lately, I feel as though I am stuck in quicksand. On those days the most helpful pursuit I can think of is.....a long walk. And a bit of introspection. I'm better at the walking part.

We should all be working 
on our next project.
Otherwise nothing will get done.
If only I felt certain about the nature
of the next project...


  1. Same camp. No solutions.

    When I was a kid, I saved box-tops to get my Lone Ranger decoder ring. I Loved getting things in the mail. That's the trap of Amazon and B&H free shipping. I love getting photography things in the mail. I start feeling antsy if I don't. (resistance is not futile ... distractions are rife)

  2. I feel your ennui.

    Often, as a fellow working pro, you're super busy being productive, and then you're not. All of a sudden you're without a driving purpose. That can be disconcerting for someone who thrives on being busy and having one's mind occupied by all of the things that need to get done.

    And then there are family obligations, house, car, and all of the other distractions like researching the next camera/lens/computer/or any other of the myriad tools that we need every day.

    When all of these fall away, we are left with ourselves. And it can be hard to get past go when the whole world is open to us, but we have no idea which direction to head with our first step.

    Unlike you, with an idea to write another novel, I don't have any big projects of a personal nature to aspire to, or feel frustrated by when I fail to begin working on them. What I do have is a number of places where I like to shoot, and can just show up without any prior planning or forethought. Somewhat like your walks, only more specific. There are specific places that I've been visiting for years making photos.

    However when I come over to your blog, I see it as a heroic effort on an almost daily basis. The mere thought of trying to come up with something coherent to write about on a daily basis makes my head hurt. Obviously you like to write, you're very good at it and you have something to say. All I can say is bravo and thank you for making me think each time you post.

    So with all you do, it's amazing that you have any time at all to fit in much personal work, but you do. Maybe just pick a few places where you like to shoot, and just go there and make the images you like to make. Then you'll always have something to do when you have nothing else to do.

  3. Sounds like a great day to take the laptop to your favourite coffee shop and tinkle the keys for awhile. Possibly snapping the odd photo of interesting people doing interesting things with their noses and ears ;)

    It's -17C up here in Calgary right now and I'm stuck at the kitchen table editing my father-in-law's book. Tis the pre-spring, mid winter doldrums. On the table I have a Hasselblad, old Nikon D70s and my trusty albeit lowly G85. Things that remind me that fun, creativity and exciting images are in the offing. It's what keeps me going.


  4. I was having a similar discussion with myself this morning while walking Bella the pizza hound. While I was scouting locations for a video practice project (without a camera with me since cold icy footing, a dog that can pull on her leash, and a poop bag can keep one occupied) I was contemplating the 27 highly different things at the top of my to do list. Some times it seems like the answer (after the walk) is a cup of coffee and not looking at the news. Now I am getting ready to go to the pool. Then more coffee?? :-)
    Oh, and maybe a longer telephoto for this project.

  5. hmm...I have to be satisfied with "my" top of the range G85 which is lesser to others, but then I have a roll of HP5 in my Holga to make up. Life is so good. I love your writing Kirk.

  6. It may be the Paradox of Choice - with so many options, it's difficult to commit to one choice without thinking about all the other fun or important (or both) things one could be doing.

    Sometimes it's better to be decisive than correct.

  7. You should adopt my motto: Indecisiveness is the key to flexibility.

  8. Lovely post Kirk! I too have lots of projects on my "to-do" list(s), from taking yet more photos (but not having started to sort out my 50 years worth!), writing, travelling....as well as the spending (more) time with my partner of 18 years and continuing to do some work on a freelance basis with individuals with an intellectual disability.
    I guess what I'm perhaps trying to articulate is I'm trying to embrace all my projects and tell myself that it's good and healthy to have all this! Embrace them all...and do continue writing, I love reading your stuff. And for me the morning walk helps too! Then coffee after!

  9. My frequent bouts of indecision stem from always having a multitude of things that I need to do but don't have time to fully deal with. Ultimately I pick the thing that needs to be done right away. Setting aside time for photos and videos, however, is one thing that I really need to find more time for.


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