This shot was taken 9 days ago at West Wittering. A day or two later the beach car park was closed and access became more difficult. We need to drive to this location so it’s now out of bounds and is likely to be for some time to come.
This marker post is I think a rather poignant reminder of how we might be feeling at the moment.
Alone and separated as the waves of change ebb and flow. A dark sky hangs overhead but there is light on the horizon. Our lives have been put on hold, our daily habits altered, we can no longer visit friends or loved ones. But we have been given a new found ‘space’. We now have time to reflect and consider what is truly important in our lives, which in the ‘rush’ is all too easily forgotten.
If you read my last post (Photographic Purpose?) you will know that I have taken very few images in recent months. There are lots of reasons but there is one factor – I wasn’t seeing anything to photograph. Even if did see something I wouldn’t have a camera with me, with the possible exception of my old iPhone of course.
Photography is like any creative hobby, you have to keep practising and it’s very easy to get out of the habit of taking and making new images. You stop looking partly because you don’t expect to see anything and over time the brain no longer sees pictures. It becomes a vicious circle and the longer this situation continues the more difficult it is to break what has become a destructive habit.
I used to play a lot of golf but to keep my handicap down I needed to play regularly. If I didn’t play for a few weeks then my game would suffer. However one good strike during a round would help to restore my confidence and inspire me to play more.
Photography is no different. The above image was taken yesterday and during processing it immediately reminded me of the great moody black and white landscapes by Don McCullin. A photographer whose work I very much admire.
I find this one image quite inspirational, not because it’s a great image, it isn’t perfect by any means. But because of what it represents. The fact that I am ‘starting to see’ again and as importantly want to reach for the camera when a scene unfolds before me.
The fact the camera was my old iPhone 6 doesn’t matter, although I am constantly amazed how much processing in Photoshop can be done before the image starts to degrade. Yes, I would have preferred a more detailed file to work with, and there are elements of the composition which could have been improved had I stopped to think about what I was doing.
Nevertheless each new image I take is a step back to where I would like to be – taking, making and sharing new images on a regular basis.
I often find myself asking the following questions – Why do we take photographs? What is the purpose? I could even go as far to say – What is the point?
At one extreme a photographer who is a full time professional has to earn a living from his craft to pay the mortgage. He or she has no choice in the matter – they have to be making images to satisfy their paying clients or their audience. The only choice they have is to whether or not an alternative career might be more financially lucrative, even if that new role is not as rewarding. Fortunately I do not fall into this category.
At the other extreme everyone who has a smartphone will probably take an extraordinary number of images and post them on social media just because they can. Seemingly they want to share their every living moment with their family, friends, followers and the world at large. Fortunately I don’t fall into this category either.
‘Every picture tells a story’ or so the saying goes. Well that’s true to a certain extent but some images have more to say than others. Photographs have the power to ask questions whilst not always providing answers. They are less about whether or not an image is beautiful or technically correct and more about what is it trying to say.
Another year over and a time to reflect on the past 12 months and consider what the next 12 months might bring.
2018 was not my most productive year from a photographic point of view. I had plenty of ideas but simply couldn’t settle on what it was I wanted to achieve. Projects came and went, although none have been discarded altogether. Perhaps other distractions in my life simply prevented me from being able to devote the time or concentrate my mind on any one particular line of thought.
I can’t be certain but I hope this year will be different. By the time December comes round again I would like to be able to look back and say that 2019 has been a good year and that 2018 was simply a quieter and less creative period. A passage of time when my internal batteries needed recharging, so filling me with fresh enthusiasm to make new photographs in the year which lies ahead.
The image which accompanies this post was taken in the past few days and is I believe, one which somehow metaphorically reflects the past year. A vacant plastic garden chair, out of place, overlooking a deserted creek at low tide. An empty space, ready to accept the incoming tide of fresh ideas coupled with renewed enthusiasm. A still, quiet place ideally suited to the mind being contemplative and receptive to whatever the future may hold.
Wherever you are in the world may I wish you a peaceful, healthy and happy New Year. With my thanks as always for reading my blog.