I’ve been trying for ages to figure out how to write this blog post, which, while neither alarming nor revelatory, feels particularly intimate to me. I talk here a lot about my work and about feeling all the feels, but in many ways I skim the surface of creativity and photography and my place in it. Truth is, taking pictures, and working behind the lens is…. Well, what can I say except, it matters to me.
There’s been no great mystery to the fact that I’ve been a creative slump since forever. Since early last summer, for sure. And then Violet died. That didn’t help. I try to be patient in those times. To trust that there’s deep work happening, even if it feels like a slog through thick mud when you’re in the middle of it.
And a lot was going on. I was testing a new camera, and I was changing, or at least trying to, my shooting style. I was getting deep into teaching photography, and that requires a creativity of a whole different kind. Still, when I was shooting, nothing I tried felt comfortable or successful. Sometimes that’s the way it goes for awhile.
When I was in the middle of it, It felt like a really long time. Too long really, and I started to despair. Days turned into weeks, and my work felt shoddy and forced. I didn’t even really know what I liked to shoot anymore. I kept taking pictures though. To me, that’s the important thing. To just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Bird by bird, if you will.
And then I did something I swore up and down and ten times to Sunday that I'd never, ever do. I decided to try shooting film.
Seriously? I’m impatient, not smart and certainly not skilled enough to shoot film. Or at least I thought I was. But here I am. It started with a conversation on a West Virginia farm. It continued in a talk in a bread baker’s kitchen. Every step of the way the universe whispered to me, “just try it.” Every time I whispered back, "maybe?" a friend would lift me up with a resounding YES. And I have more to share on that later.
So I listened. And I did.
All I know is that when I opened my first set of film scans, (developed at my local Walgreen’s no less), I was happy with my pictures for the first time in ages. That photo up there of Cal? I might have shed a little tear when I first saw it.
I have more to share about this journey, most especially about the signs from the Universe and the dear friends who've helped me along the way. That is, if you care to listen. But for now, I’ll say simply this. I shoot film.