I think if I could go back in time and tell myself one thing, I think it would be that everything changes (at least that’s what I’d go back and tell myself now; it’ll probably change). Life changes, you change, your friends change, the people you love change (in both senses), how you view the world changes, how the world views you changes. Everything and everyone grows, and evolves, and changes and is changed.
I can be quite proud and stubborn about things. If I say I will do something, or not doing something, then I will, or will not, do it, regardless of evidence that doing things differently would be to everyone’s benefit (especially my own). I guess this comes from fear. A fear of being wrong. A fear of looking foolish.
There is another way to look at this though because there is a fine line between stubbornness and determination, between pride and self belief. And I guess where the lines fall is very much subjective, so it’s anyone’s guess where those lines might be.
What has any of this got to do with photography? Well, I’ve been having doubts recently as to whether photography is a viable way for me to earn an income. There are areas of photography that are a lot more lucrative than others, they take a lot of hard work and talent to do properly, but the financial rewards are greater and a lot easier to work as a ‘business model’. The things I want to do with my photography do not fall into this category. I knew this from the outset, but I was determined to do things my way, and I guess I’m beginning to wonder if my determination has changed into stubbornness.
So, do I stick to my guns and do things my way, producing the work I want to? Or do I change my approach to things and go where the money is? For now I’m going to back myself, but I’m open to change in the future.
I don’t think I am a bird watcher, but I might be becoming one. Or perhaps I became one a while ago and I’ve only just noticed.
Recently I’ve been adding my work to various sites to try and give myself some exposure (pun very much intended) and, if I’m honest, to give my sometimes fragile confidence a boost. Anyway, on one of these site you have to put your work into specific categories and it tells you how may you have in a category and it surprised me to see how many I had in the ‘birds’ classification (22 at last count). Maybe that doesn’t seem a lot, but given that I was only uploading a small selection of my images, for that to be the category with the most photos in was a bit of an eye-opener. It was also a shock to someone who doesn’t consider themselves to be a wildlife photographer let alone a photographer of birds.
Is there a point to this other than sharing with you my surprise and letting you know I take photos of birds?
Yes, there is a point. A point that I sort of knew about but I perhaps didn’t understand properly. And that is that you learn by doing. You learn about yourself by doing. I learnt that I take lots of photos of birds by doing something with my images. The fact that you learn by doing probably isn’t much of a revelation to anyone else but me, but that’s because I’m a self confessed overthinker. My name is Bert (or Andrew or Andy or any of the other names people in this world call me, you know who you are) and I’m an Overthinker. Thinking is what I do. Thinking happens unbidden, and it snowballs and becomes overthinking. I need to think less. Which sounds wrong and counter-intuitive. Thinking is a good thing, but I seem to think instead of doing, I think myself to a standstill. I spend so much time thinking, that I run out of time to actually do the thing I’m thinking about.
I think (or perhaps overthink) my overthinking might be having an impact on another area of my photography, and that’s when it comes to selecting which of my images from a shoot to present to the world. I need to rely on my instinct, which is what I do when I’m taking the photo, that’s all instinctive. I need to take the instinctive approach from the start of the process of image making all the way through to the end. So that’s what I’m going to do from now one, maybe, I think. I’ll have to give it some thought… I think….
I can be serious whilst being ‘funny.’ Believe it or not I consider myself to be a serious, artistic photographer. You may disagree with that, but, rightly or wrongly, that’s what I think of myself. This isn’t going to be a essay about if photography is art, that I will save for another time (maybe).
I recently posted some photos of kittens on my Facebook page.
Now you may not think that photos of kittens constitutes serious photography. It’s a thought that crossed my mind too. So why did I post those photos? Because although I am a serious photographer, I am other things as well. I believe that your artistic work should be a reflection of you, all of you. So what do photos of cute little kittens say about me? Well, that I’m cute for one thing, maybe also that I’m a bit of a softie (I kind of am, but you really don’t want to annoy me, I have claws) but also that, although I’m serious about my photography, I don’t take myself too seriously. It also says that I understand that photography isn’t just about one thing. It has many uses, not just the artistic, but it can also be used to make people go ‘Awww.’ It says that I’ll photograph any available subject.
Another reason for posting photos of cats is, despite what some people may tell you, that the internet is actually made of cats, and if there aren’t enough images of cats uploaded, the internet stops working. I’m just being a good internet citizen.
You may think that what I’ve written is artistic pretentious twaddle. You might think that this blog is just a big joke. Perhaps you think what you’ve just read is all nonsense. There’s a good chance that you consider me to be someone who thinks too much. Well, guess what, all those things are probably true.
2014 for me was a year of change. One of the biggest was giving myself the time to get serious about doing photography and trying to take what I do to a wider audience. This happened about halfway through the year, so it wasn’t until October that I launched this website. October was also when I did my first exhibition, which was a big learning experience for me. 2014 taught me that there was a lot of things I need to work on and improve, which is why things have been a little quiet from me over the past couple of months, but now I can take what I’ve learnt into 2015.
What do I have in store for you in 2015?
What I have in store for you is, well hopefully, a store. I hope to start selling my prints through my website and maybe on a select few other outlets. I’m planning to shoot more bands, as this is what I love most, and to offer photography that is a little different (I know everyone says this, but really who else has photos of broken drumsticks?)
I’d love to hear from anyone who’d like to work with me (particular bands & musicians).
I hope to continue with my project called ‘Through Windows’, although that is just a working title at the moment, as it sounds a little voyeuristic, which I’m not sure really fits with the images.
I may even have photos of kittens, because as everyone knows the internet is made of 95% cats.
I will carry on shooting what I see. That’s how I’ve always worked and even as I change things and improve, that instinct will remain the same
What does 2015 have in store for me?
I have no idea, but I’m going to enjoy finding out. A happy and successful New Year to you all.
I say my first exhibition, I did exhibit at the end of my year long college course, about 6 years ago but I’m not sure that really counts. This one was in Trowbridge Town Hall, as part of ‘Trowbridge Arts Festival’.
As it was my first public exhibition, I’m not really sure how to judge it. I’ve no idea how it should have gone. I certainly learned a lot. Like when it comes to sticky Velcro Vs Gravity, if you try to be environmentally friendly and reuse sticky Velcro dots (even if they’ve ‘still got some stick to them’) Gravity tends to win. This was evidenced by falling prints, which resulted in broken mount boards. Net result, less environmentally friendly.
My problems with gravity reoccurred later in the week. This time up against Gravity, it was display boards (of the unstable, on their last legs verity), on which my work was mounted. This resulted in more damaged mount boards and a dent on one of the prints, which i hope was only noticeable to me as I was looking at them for such damage. The display boards were fixed with the liberal application of gaffer tape, (because if you can’t fix it with gaffer tape, you haven’t used enough) which seemed to a make them last the next couple of days until the end of the exhibition.
I also learned to ask more questions, about the amount of space I would have to exhibit in. I could have displayed more of my work, which would hopefully have resulted in more interest.
I met some lovely people, and everyone was very supportive and complimentary about the work I had on display. I also met some ‘interesting’ members of public, which having recently left a public facing job, was something I thought I’d left behind.