A new year is about to begin. What will 2017 bring? While writing my post of Favorite 2016 Images, I reflected on past years and the images I had made and how different each year has been. I do like different, but my images being so different was not intentional. What have I learned over the years?
Too much concentration on what I think others will enjoy. Too much concern for the technically correct composition and failing to see the art nature provides. In 2016 my favorite images were what I saw, some planned, some not. They were more about me and how I see the world. And that was the original goal for my photography. Not selling my images, not worrying about SEO, not being concerned with being found on social media and “making it”. My photography was to be for me.
Back in 2012 when I chose to leave the corporate world from a company I had been employed by for almost 12 years, I had hoped photography would take away all the stress I had been carrying for almost five years. Being 1500 miles away from my dad who was battling leukemia, my sister who had battled breast cancer and being “stuck” at work all made for extreme stress. When I went to Maine with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops in June 2012, my goal was to learn how to make better images. To get away from the world during the first Father’s Day, first dad’s birthday after my dad had passed, both of which were within five days of each other and my birthday within those days too.
Some of my friends thought I had talent and should pursue photography full-time. It was certainly fun and exciting photographing Arizona and I loved being in nature and making images and writing stories about my adventures. But the concern over selling, SEO, social media and finding my style all took a toll. Paths I never intended to take with photography were followed and lead me astray. The joy of photography has been slowly slipping away. There are people who probably think I have been completely irresponsible the last five years and that’s okay, it wasn’t their path. Recently I saw this quote on Facebook:
We must take adventures in order to know where we truly belong – author unknown
Many adventures have been taken the last five years, most of which were only a dream while sitting in a cubicle. Is it time to say goodbye to photography or just to selling, social media and all the concern of “making it”? Have I found where I truly belong? The jury is still out on that one, but am certainly ready for another adventure. I do miss the opportunities urban life brings, but enjoy the distinct four seasons in “my backyard” the Midwest has to offer. What path will I be taking in 2017? I am still looking for it, but plan to phase out some social media and selling my images.
For now, a photo here a story there, just as my tagline now reads. Goodbye photography? – not fully.