Art & Fear
Fears about myself
“…Making art provides uncomfortably accurate feedback about the gap that inevitably exists between what you intended to do, and what you did. In fact, if art-making did not tell you (the maker) so enormously much about yourself, then making art that matters to you would be impossible.” - Bayles and Orland, ‘Art & Fear’
Perfection in a photography project comes when the idea is still in my mind - before I jauntily throw the loop of my camera strap around my neck, and long before I adjust the settings on my camera. And then I get into the flow of using my camera to make images that I imagine are going to be gallery masterpieces. Click. Click.
But then my world comes to a grinding halt when I look at the images. What on earth went so wrong? How did I overlook the pole growing out of the subject’s nose? What mysterious force has taken over to completely mess up the focus? Why don’t I have a serviceable image after concentrating so hard on what I wanted to achieve? What happened to the light? Where were those
Photography is one of my skills. But if the quality of my photography is so bad, it seems fraudulent if I call myself a photographer. Yet, ”Inept Photographer” is not a position title I have seen on a business card - it wouldn’t market well. Should the quality of my photography define me?
It turns out that photography is a religion without a god. There are photographers who are god-like, but they are not magical. So if there are no magical forces at play, why does my idea of perfection always seem to lie tantalizingly just beyond arm’s reach? Why does photography taunt me? Am I good enough to call myself a photographer?
The answer is within me. That’s the answer. This leads me to more questions, and thus my learning continues. My failed photography is not me.
I continue to work on my photography. It’s my priority to maintain my relationship with the art of photography. I’ll ride through the troughs because the highs are higher than the clouds. Managing the fine balance between my art and my fears sustains my vision of photography and motivates me to keep working towards the perfect defining photograph. I commit to making the relationship work. I do.