“Given outside observances that I'm 17 in one context but approaching 50 in another gives time an odd meaning for me. Photography is connecting me back to a period before significant dissonance and now. Thinking and talking about it is a time waster for sure. Doing it is a gift for others. It captures a moment that looses subjectivity the further you move from it. But hopefully a good shot retains a truth in moment for others to appreciate.”
Welcome to Jerry Lee Lewis Land.
As in his song, Thirty-nine and Holding, which you can see in various versions on Youtube, even placing one’s own age becomes problematic pretty soon after you leave school. My mother made it to her 90s and once said that she really thought she was much, much younger – somewhere in her twenties, I think she said (as I age, my memory become less sure of fine details like that) – and I know that, as far as my own stage in life goes, I feel I never outgrew my twenties either. But I’m well past that in the language of the clock; I also feel it physically more often than not, but seldom inside where I live and think.
But does the passing of time really alter objectivity or subjectivity? I’m not sure. I do recognize the truth in the idea that editing too soon after a shoot can be a mistake for emotional reasons tied up with the interface between you, model and client; locations can also colour your vision, where the enthusiasm that you experience from a new, beautiful location can totally overwhelm the reality of what you actually caught in the camera.
I don’t share your experience of retro-connection to an earlier stage in my own life, even though I have spent a lot of time setting up my website by trawling through material that represented what was left of my career; rather than reconnecting me, it showed me how far I have moved, not in ability or tastes, but from the business reality of what was my norm. Frankly, I have spent too much time agonising over the loss of that genre of work, but I am increasingly finding that it is starting to lose its dominance in my mind – thank goodness – and that I think, now, that I am absolutely ready for new directions. This, not least of all because of several pointed posts from people showing genuine interest in pushing me along to a new life.
However, unlike you, who I think is a self-starter of projects, I feel perfectly able to start them but doubt my ability to complete them unless I have an outside responsibility that does not permit boredom or depression to say oh, the hell with it; let’s just go home, Rob. Believe me, I’ve spent a lot of gasoline doing exactly that, not even stopping the car to make sure that a Pulitzer wasn’t hiding behind a wall.
Again, at the risk of boring everybody rigid, it does fit in just too damn neatly with Terence Donovan’s statement about the difficulty of the amateur to find a reason to take a photograph. I am, now, that amateur, and it is damned hard to maintain motivation. Once you know perfectly well that you can make a good shot out of absolutely anything, something other than proving it to yourself over and over again is required. That’s where the absence of the client element can be so damaging.
The latter part of your post worries me.
I don’t know how pro or otherwise you were or are – I do know you shoot extremely well – and whilst I share absolutely your concept about doing shots for others to enjoy if it’s your living, now that I am in amateur shoes I feel nothing remotely like that: I feel the freedom to shoot only for self, to indulge in that divine world of solipsism that was oh so difficult to manage when working. Dame Fortune did grant me the joy of a lot of freedom from art directors – often, it worked the other way around: I did the shots first and from the proofs the AD created the ads. True, and great for us both. And in my opinion, the best way of getting value from the shooter you have hired. But it wasn’t always that sweet – in fact, I suppose I lost my second-best client because of internal stresses brought on by interference. Sad fact: because somebody holds a title within a company does NOT mean that he should hold it; some peoples’ depths are very shallow indeed. But they don’t pay; at least, not immediately… this particular mother did, about a year later. Schadenfreude? Bet your bippy!
But today, if time (our topic!) permits, I have the ideas but lack the external need to see it all through. Catch Twenty-two; I think Joseph would have been proud to know this of me.