Photographer at Large
ART & FEAR
The end of December is the perfect time to reflect on the goals we set back in January. All over the world people gather to clink glasses and celebrate the possibility of the future. Maybe all of the rituals of New Years Celebration are to shrug off old habits and give ourselves an upgrade. We gather up a new round of courage, set goals beyond our wildest dreams and then hit February and forget where it all went. As Ernest Hemingway once said,
“Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk.”
Behind our goals, lies the looming monster known as fear. It is a powerful force that has many shapes and sizes. Fear is not just the paralysis of an artistic block or being afraid to approach strangers. It comes in the form of procrasticnation, excuses to do it “another day,” and the fear that if we put our work into the world no one will like it. These are fears that everyone has, I have them, you might have them and some of the biggest names in art and photography have them. But instead of going at it alone, I wanted to open up the conversation. We should be allowed to discuss our concerns in a safe environment, free from criticism, because ultimately, once we are free of our fears…everything improves. Please join me in welcoming a new Photographer at Large to the site, Michelle Leung as she takes us through her journey of Art & Fear.
Art & Fear
If my fear were personified it would resemble a ten foot gelatinous version of Miyazaki’s Totoro. I find my fear both comforting and frightening. Starting this journal, my fear initially sat heavily on my chest, making it difficult for me to breathe. But now it sits quietly alongside me.
This short journal was inspired by the book ‘Art & Fear‘ by Bayles and Orland. And I was encouraged to share these personal thoughts because it seems others might be enduring – or at least, experiencing - something similar. There’s also apparently a catharsis that comes from sharing my thoughts (and for those who don’t know me, sharing my inner-most thoughts is certainly not my forte), so I remain optimistic of this outcome.
I am in a long term relationship with photography. I love it. But sometimes it doesn’t love me back. Despite this, I persist because I want the relationship to work - and “work” is the operative word. Apparently staying the course in the relationship with photography requires constant work – a lot more work than I had originally anticipated. I originally
The parties to this relationship are my camera, others, and me. My camera doesn’t say much and doesn’t have much to add to the conversation. He looks back at me unblinking when I ask searching questions. So instead, I turn to think about the impact of others and myself in this relationship with photography. Big deep breath - here it goes…
Stay tuned for part two of Michelle’s series on Art & Fear later this week.
How have you dealt with art & fear?