As each new year rolls around, I do what a lot of people do and make lists of things I want to accomplish in the new year. Rarely do these things get done, however, as I am notoriously overzealous and place too many unrealistic expectations on myself. But I still hope and try and this year will be full of goals just like all of the rest.
One of those goals has to do with my photography. I used to photograph purely for the fun of it and it was nice, albeit very random and not always successful. Then I turned my passion into my profession and was a wedding and portrait photographer for 10 years. What could have been an opportunity to experiment and grow my knowledge and craft became just the opposite: the demands of my job stymied my creative spirit and brought me to the point where I dreaded picking up my camera.
When I came to Sawtooth 5 years ago as the Photography Department Coordinator, in truth I was still burned out from my wedding business and tried desperately to rally my enthusiasm to an acceptable level to be successful in my new position. I turned my focus from taking photographs to teaching other people how to take photographs and it ignited my passion again. I let other peoples’ excitement for photography fuel my own, and once again I became more creative with my photographs and more inclined to experiment and take risks.
And now I have switched gears again. I am once again finding myself searching for new photographic journeys, paths I haven’t ventured down, stones I’ve left unturned. This past year I focused a great deal on mindfulness in photography, capturing unplanned moments and immersing myself in the world around me, the moment I’m given. My photography has greatly benefited from this practice, and I’d like to do more in the new year. It’s interesting because mindfulness in photography actually encourages you to forget–or at least de-emphasize–the technical aspects of photography. This goes against pretty much everything I’ve done in the last 5 years as I have taught the in’s and out’s of how to photograph using aperture, shutter speed, ISO, lighting, etc. Now I’m forcing myself to photograph mainly from feeling and not to get all bogged down in the details. It seems to be working. My photography is improving, and, more importantly, I am enjoying the process of photographing more.
So my photographic goal for the new year is letting go. This has a variety of meanings for me, including (but certainly not limited to) putting my work out there, letting it go for others to see. I haven’t explored submitting my work to shows, magazines, etc. but that’s one of my goals for the new year. Letting go for me also means continuing to release emotions and exploring my life through my photographs. It’s a process that brings me much joy, and it will definitely become a big focus for me this year.
What are your photographic goals for 2016? I hope we can share in this journey together in different ways, and I wish you and yours all the best for the new year.
Until next time, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for your camera!