I have often said that photography teaches me things. It helps me understand where I need to grow as a person and how I need to live better. How I act within the sphere of my art is often in correlation with my daily life.
One problem that I’ve had many times with photography is sacrificing the idea I have in my head for convenience, which usually ends up horribly. A basic example: In my head I see my model in a red dress, but I don’t have a red dress, I only have blue. So I use the blue instead, and I end up being quite disappointed in the end product. Just because I didn’t want to wait to get the red dress.
This has happened a lot, and In the end, I become depressed because the photo-shoot didn’t work out.
From the beginning I usually know if it will turn out or not. On the day of the photo-shoot, I can feel my blood pumping, the adrenaline rushing through my body because I’m scraping my brain for an idea, an inspiration, anything. The model arrives, and I explain the idea that I no longer feel passionate about. In my head, I’m thinking “I wish I had a better prop”, “I knew I should have changed locations”, or “Shoot, I didn’t know she dyed her hair…”. But I was never brave enough to admit that I knew deep down that because of my own mistakes, the shoot would probably never materialise into the finished product.
Except last week. I was scheduled in all morning, and my last plan was a photo-shoot. Because of the busy day I didn’t feel fully equipped and ready for it. I was exhausted, I had a headache, and wasn’t feeling inspired at all. Also, because of complications with the first location we had to switch to Plan B. Turns out, my Plan B location had a make-over and all the beautiful vegetation had been chopped down for the summer. Now that place wouldn’t work either. I then began to furiously scribble ideas into my sketchbook to somehow fit in an idea. The familiar rise of slight panic and frustration visited me once again. When my friend, the model, arrived, she saw how tired I looked.
“Do you want to sit down and relax somewhere before hand?” She asked. I responded with an eager “Yes!”
We found a Starbucks and we sat down outside in the spring chill. While she went to get her coffee, I contemplated this feeling of deja vous that I had; I knew that I had it before many times. It was the sign for when my photo-shoots would ultimately “fail”. It was a mixture of anxiously trying to make a story out of nothing, and feeling like I’m letting my friend down. It was me feeling incompetent and unconfident, so any child that is born from those two parents would be the epitome of bad art (Or so were my worries). She would never see the picture.
I made the decision to brave up for the first time and admit that I didn’t think the photo-shoot would be good to have today. After I told her, she understood perfectly, and I felt a huge rush of relief.
Of course I can’t do that with everyone. I was just lucky that my model that day was a good friend, and that she understood my limitations. I think that is something all artists need.
Art is tricky business, I found. Not only when it comes to business, but it affects you strongly on a personal level. You set up imaginary consequences if you fail produce something amazing. You convince yourself that if you don’t reach the quota of pieces per month, your happiness will be withheld from you. You must get that shot.
I found out the hard way that you need to be kind to yourself. That even though you should aim for perfection, perfection shouldn’t be the ultimate goal. That isn’t what great art is made up of. You need learn to understand…you. That is our motivation in what we do.