I’m just going to say it: 2017 was not my best or favorite year as a photographer. Sure there were a few unforgettable experiences including a bucket list moment for me, but by and large I would use two words to sum up my photography throughout this past year: coast and flat.
Now you may be thinking to yourself, “Wow, this guy spent time along the flat beaches of the coast, why is he unhappy?” Pffft. I wish the beach is what I were describing. Unfortunately, “coast” and “flat” are adjectives for my creative drive and output for about 11 of last year’s 12 months.
January started out with such promise. Endless tiny, white flakes of Inspiration fell from the sky littering the Pittsburgh landscape in a coating of opportunities to create. I was compelled to seize these moments that were literally, and soon to be figuratively, frozen in time, but in a way unfamiliar to me. Instead of my usual flirting with twilight blue hours and sunrise/sunset color explosions, I photographed under the cloak of night. My juices were flowing and the results were favorable, both to me and those who enjoy my work.
After such an exciting rush of endorphins, exploration, and creativity, I was certain this was going to be THE year. Enter February.
February was a mixed bag of sorts. The extreme highs of seeing my image, The Lonely Leaf, grace the covers of the Official Visitors Guide for the city of Pittsburgh were somewhat countered by the metaphorical pouring down the drain of my photographic mojo juice.
This is not to say, purely from the perspective of creating new work, that ’17 was a bust. But if I’m being 100% honest with myself, throughout the rest of the year, a recurring theme emerged: my want-to and compulsion to get out and create had flatlined, waning to the point of indifference with only less than significant attempts to inspire myself being made. I merely coasted through the remainder of the year.
I made some solid photos to be sure, which you can see strewn about this post. Yet, there were no stretches of Inspiration. I was unable to build on my successes, rather I was complacent and remained satisfied with them.
Now, this not some shameless reach for compliments or reaffirmation of my art or an attempt to beat myself up in self-loathing. I am confident in my work and that needs to remain the case, else I’d better give up entirely. If I don’t believe in my own abilities, then who will besides my wife and parents? Nobody. The answer is nobody.
This is merely a declaration that I AM GOING to do better in 2018 and stating it publicly will be the extra nudge I will need to ensure I hold myself accountable, after all nobody wants to be thought of as a liar.