Saturday, December 29, 2012

Ups and Downs of a Dream

Ups and Downs of a Dream

Yes, I’m bitching about my miserable failure as a photographer. 
It’s my blog, after all: So there.

     In 2009, as part of my creative endeavors, I retook my lifelong fascination in photography. I had given it up, again –something that I do every so often given the rise and fall of circumstances that favor, or not any endeavor– a few years before given the rising cost of 35mm and the lack of professionals labs at my disposal. And, not being physically able to actually work in a lab myself –barring any interest in having a very close association with 911 operators– and the lack of enthusiasm for my work, I put away my old Canon, and devoted my time to other projects. But in 2009 I was on a deadline imposed by friends to publish my next book, long overdue in all sense of the word, and given my disappointment with my first book I decided that I had to take complete matters in designing the covers. So I needed a photo, or two, to illustrate the covers and was up in arms as to what to do. Not 35mm, not that I didn't like it, but no complete control over the final product, I thought, so digital. I wasn't impressed with digital before, even though I had had the opportunity to do some work in the medium, and I had some experience with the editing software, so it really wasn't a big leap. And so, after considering my options, I bought my first dslr camera. I still remember what some of my friends told me as I told them I was once again coming out of my self-imposed retirement: “You will have hundreds of girls after you wanting their pictures taken once they know you are a photographer.” Really... Of course I doubted it, but you never know. So I started announcing and advertising, on the low, that I was a photographer. I won’t go into details but in 2010 I had two shootings for the cover and by summer I not only had composed the covers for my book, but actually had very nice photos to boot. Nice enough to actually start posting them in some of the primary art photography sites on the web.

     So I started working digitally, slowly getting the hand of it, and eventually got myself updated in all the necessary accouterments of a digital studio: camera, lenses, editing software, etc. Slowly, but surely I started to work, one shooting here, another there. New ideas were being jotted down and some people were being lined up for new shootings. Nice work being produced, but mostly I was getting my bearings in the digital workflow, translating my knowledge of 35mm film to the digital realm. And some nice things eventually developed. A second book got its covers. My digital portfolio grew some. And two photo books were created as result of my endeavors. The models loved the images –and yes, I shamelessly thanked them for their support tin my work–, people liked the photos created, friends were enthusiastically overjoyed at my return to the medium, and everyone had their favorite photo or two –and of course their criticism of one or two–, but mostly well received overall. And people were actually starting to state their interest in forming part of my work.

     Then, as always, comes the moment it all goes down the proverbial drain. Not that I was doing great –this was mostly a personal endeavor for artistic pleasures, and the personal and sometimes private satisfaction of both model and artist–; and fortunately I hadn't taken it up again as a career choice –never did care for the business/commercial side of the art– otherwise I would probably be a starving artiste. So there really wasn't that long of a drain to go down. As things started to play out, people started to talk and judge without knowing. In the end the interests remained but the availability of live collaboration waned into nonexistence. Oh, everyone wants to see and know, and some say that they are interested, but the nervous cough would rise as soon as the idea of collaborating comes up. And the courteous bowing out of any pending project would soon follow suit. The rumors, the “what ifs”, the “oh, mys”, among other things. Call it peer pressure, or fear of the other –if not of themselves–, I guess it always comes to that: what people think one does, what they imagine it is all about.

     So for the last year (2012) I have gone from enthusiastically creative to wallowing about waiting for anything to fall on my lap, figuratively of course…I know, I know: nothing will happen if I don't look for it. But actually I have. I have asked, and offered, and discussed, and presented, and…well, I guess there is not much more to say but… STRIKE 3! YOU’RE OUT! Or, I’m out, actually. No luck, a few maybes, and an “I’ll let you know” here and there, but mostly it has been “Interesting, but it’s not for me.” Not that I mind, if it’s not for someone, it’s not for someone. But when it's actually people who have or do model…well, that’s another story…

     And, no. I do not blame those who have truly encouraged me and given me their total support in the realization of my work. They were there when I needed them, and have supported me and still do to this day.

     Eventually, it is mostly I who has failed to make a statement with my work. In a world driven by commodity worth, I have not sold myself well. I have not sold anything at all. And I guess I never will. I never wanted to. I guess it is that little element of financial, fame and celebrity expectancy, or lack thereof that turns everyone off. Not that I wouldn't mind a showing, or selling a book. But it’s not the primary reason for my work. And there is the internet; it does function as a way to expose my work to the world. And I wouldn't mind having some feedback, some real interest and sense of my work, but unfortunately the internet is filled with so many jerks that one does wonder if it’s really worth it.

     Have I given up? No, not really…but I have scaled back enormously in the time and efforts that I used to spend, both economically as emotionally, in the design and confection of new projects. I take a photo here and a photo there, nothing that really inspires me, though other people seem to like it, mostly landscapes or street photography.

     What is funny, at least to me, though not in a “HA HA” way, is that everybody keeps asking: “Where is your new stuff?” “Any new photos?” “How is it going?” “When are we going to see your new project?”…What can I say? Sorry, nothing new to show, slim pickings, I guess. Everybody has been too busy, and it has been difficult to get together to work. In the design stage, soon as I get some things finalized I’ll have something to show. Sure, everybody wants a peek, we’re good at peeking through keyholes and from behind venetian blinds; you know who you are… but to tell the truth, and let’s be honest now: if no one wants to play, there can’t be a game…

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