Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.


I was feeling very bogged down and concerned that my photography was getting a bit repetitive.....and thus took a break, delving into Holga/Diana and pinhole imaging. It was time well taken. Making images with those cameras is truly an enjoyable experience, and I plan to continue photographing with them. But, most of all, it has allowed me to feel quite rejuvenated. So I am once again turning attention to my 'Twin Jewels Project'. As I think about my progress with this project, I realize that it has slowed for many reasons....and I found it useful to think about and enumerate them as part of a photographic process of 'self discovery', if it can be termed that.

After self-examination, I can recognize the following reasons for delay:

1) Concern (? fear) that the images are just not good enough. Concern that I would have put in a great deal of time/effort/expense and, in the end, it would have not been a worthwhile or successful endeavor.

2) Concern that by working on making the prints for this project (it takes me a while to make a print I am happy with) I am spending time that I otherwise could use to make prints from my multitude of backlogged images from past workshops, which, as individual prints, would likely be more powerful than any single print from this project. The corollary is fear that by showing the project I might get judged by criteria which assumes that this is my best work, as opposed to my best work from this one particular location (ie, a variant of the 'project vs greatest hits' issue).

3) Concern (?fear) that, once completed, there would be no venue to show the work.

4) Revisiting work. After I have completed a print, I will frequently return to it and decide that it would look better a bit warmer toned, a bit cooler toned, a bit more/less get the idea.

5) Desire to go back on location and improve on particular shots (shooting close to home can, I guess, be a detriment as well as a benefit).

6) Desire to shoot specific locations within the parks that I have not yet had the chance to go to.

I have taken time to think these issues over, revisit some thoughts generated by reading the superb book 'Art and Fear', and have even spent some time (re)listening to some of the Brooks Jensen LensWork podcasts on the subject, which I find quite motivational.

The time thus spent has been quite helpful, and I have come to some conclusions and decisions.

First of all, I must produce a finished version of this project. If it ends up having no venue for presentation, so be it (though as part of the thinking process I have some ideas which I think could come to fruition in this regard). However, unless I finish it I will never know how it might have turned out and never feel comfortable, or perhaps even confident enough, to move on to the next project. Whether it is successful, of course, depends on the yardstick used for measure, and independent of it's success there is no question in my mind that the endeavor will be worthwhile.

Secondly, I must 'let go' of the artwork. While my 'revisitation' of the images and the improvements that I might make to them could well prove beneficial to any one given image, they are clearly, by significantly impeding progress, detrimental to the project as a whole . Once I consider an image finished, it is not to be revisited until all the images are completed and efforts are being made to obtain a venue to show them.

Thirdly, I will not go back to purposefully reshoot images that have already been made, though it seems reasonable to try to capture them in a different season etc. There are also one or two more locations that I would like to try to capture.

Finally, I will need to give up at least some of the time that I would spend out photographing in order to work on the prints.

I have some ideas for different projects, but will not even think about working on those images until this project is complete. I am, however, going on a workshop to the Smokies in October and will take a break for that.

As a result, I have taken the bull by the horn, so to speak. I have, literally, close to a thousand images from the parks (granted some of them are bracketing, different focus and apertures etc...I tend to take a lot of images from one spot) and, prior to this, had been picking out images for printing one at a time. Since my last post, I have gathered them all together in Lightroom and 'brutally' edited them down to probably 60 or so that I think might be included. Are they all wonderful stand alone, but I think they do nicely depict the personality of these parks as part of a themed project. I probably have 10 or so completed previously and would like to end up with 40-45 images in the project. I have started to work on them in earnest.

In the coming days/weeks I will post other images that I have completed or am completing as part of the project. I am also giving thought to an "Artist's Statement" to help pull it all together.

It turns out to have been quite helpful to really sit down and be brutally honest with myself about where I am going with this and how it is progressing. There are probably multiple times throughout everyone's artistic career that a session like this can be helpful!