This year marks 19 years since I purchased my first single-lens-reflex camera. I’m self-taught, and in that time, I’ve shot literally hundreds of thousands of photographs. I’ve photographed flowers and faces and faraway places. I’ve written and shot a book. I kept up a photoblog for over 9 years. And after playing with my camera for all this time, I’ve realized something:
My photographs are starting to feel same-old-same-old. I have my processing tricks down pat. I shoot from the same angles every time. I know what works and what doesn’t, and I’m not sure how to experiment in a way that stretches me. And I need to stretch.
This feeling — of being stagnant, of not growing — has become really acute over the last few weeks. Perhaps it’s because it’s springtime, and there’s so much newness in the air, but I decided that it was time to shake myself up a bit. So for the first time in my life, I signed up for a photography course. But not just any course: a course led by this fine art photographer.
As you can see, her work is nothing like my work: it’s surreal, and fantastical, and a bit out there. And honestly, I don’t really have any plans on changing the types of photographs I take: I find her work, while undeniably beautiful, a bit dark; and I, as you know, am all about the light. But I think her techniques are amazing — mind-boggling, really. I figure that simply by learning her methods — these methods and this way of shooting that are so different from mine — that I’m inevitably going to learn something. And learning is always a good thing.
The course is this coming weekend. I’ve purchased the recommended tools, pulled together my gear, and made my packing list. I can’t wait. I’m also a bit scared. But I love that I’m doing this — scaring myself, I mean — at the beginning of the spring season. Spring is all about renewal, and it occurs to me that maybe springtime is the time when we should do something a bit scary, a bit out there. Something that shakes up our comfort zones. Because I suspect that sometimes blissing your heart requires just that.
More when I return from the course this weekend. Wish me luck!