2017 – The Year That Was(n’t)

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     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.

DSC_6023 edited final lum mask 010816 c web srgb c web srgbDSC_6161 edited final lum mask 011116 c web srgb c web srgbDSC_6985 edited final lum mask 011317 c web srgb c web srgb     Continue towards the end of January and euphoria presented itself.  I was finally out to see Pittsburgh encapsulated in fog, but only from the river up to about a third of the height of the buildings.  The Jetson-like setting I had been chasing since picking up my first (real) camera was there for the taking.  And take I did.

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     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.
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     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.
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4 responses to “2017 – The Year That Was(n’t)”

  1. Karen Busch says :

    We love your work & bought one of your Pittsburgh in the cloud pictures at the home show last year. After capturing so many cool things, you likely hit a plateau — basically, the photographer’s version of writer’s block. Sometimes stepping back for a bit helps. Given how much we like your work, even in this phase, we can’t wait to see what you do with your creative juices flowing again. Best wishes!

  2. B Trozzi says :

    You KNOW I’m a fan, JP. And you are forgetting the huge successes with the forge and all of your pieces displayed at the airport.
    So of course you got distracted….maybe felt spread a little too thinly. You know how if feels and can do better now. You probably couldn’t hear the whispers of your muse with the din of Everything Else.

    I am 100% confident you’ll be hearing her song soon. Happy New Year!!

    I am 100% confident that your m

  3. Maria says :

    Welcome to the world of creativity! There are ebbs and flows, highs and lows, ups and downs. I have wrestled with this as an artist my entire life, and continue to do so. But, I have learned over the years to embrace all of it! No regrets, don’t beat yourself up. I now, look forward to the low, slow times to regroup, get my creative juices flowing again. Something good always comes of it.
    Go with the flow, don’t fight it and you may be surprised what the tide brings to you my friend!
    Your work is incredible! It’s much better to continue learning and growing as an artist. Otherwise you’re done…and creative souls are NEVER done! Thanks for sharing, we all look forward to your work in 2018! Life is like musical notes…without the “rests” in just a bunch of noise!

  4. kathy w lilley says :

    I was surprised at your blog! I have followed you for a couple of years and thought your pictures were great! I don’t know what you wanted to accomplish though. Good luck this year!!

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