Abstract in Acros
I've been suffering from something akin to writers block when it comes to photography lately. A lot of things are getting to me and frustrating me creatively. While Autumn had been my favourite time of the year for photography for many years, a few weeks ago it was the anniversary of my mother’s passing away, and that has changed my feelings about the season. Autumn is now a reminder of that sad time, rather than the celebration of colour that I used to see. I'm sure with time this will pass, but this year was difficult. On top of that, the weather has been dark and cold, so that hasn't exactly helped things. I wanted to try and channel some of these feelings and reflect the mood of both the environment and myself, and so I headed out the other day to try something a little different.
I took my X-Pro 2 with me and set it to shoot in Acros and JPEG. I wasn't trying to capture anything specific, but rather to look for abstract and moody images. It wasn't too hard. With the leafs falling and the dull skies over Dublin, by shooting in black and white, the Autumn imagery took on a particularly haunting feel, at least in my mind. I chose to shoot in JPEG because I like the look of the Acros film mode. Even though you can simulate this with the RAW files quite easily in Lightroom, the in-camera simulation is something special, especially when you use it with the grain function. I do still prefer the Raw files though, but for this expirement, I was just using the Jpegs. Anyway, I'm getting off the track here.
I wandered around for a while in the gloom of a dull and cold autumn day, in one of the parks here in Dublin. Looking back at the images afterwards, I guess my mood really did translate to the imagery. I think the exercise has been somewhat therapeutic too, as has writing this piece. I have found that about photography in general. If I'm feeling stressed, going on a shoot can help me unwind, unless of course, it's the photography that's getting me stressed in the first place.
I've written before about Imposter Syndrome, and I've been feeling that a lot lately too. There are times I look at my own work and I hate it. Other times, I do like what I do, but I find that I feel like I'm just faking it or I've just been lucky. I wrote a post on this before and it struck a chord with people, so you should read it if you get the chance. Working in a creative field can be draining at times.
The pressure to be constantly creative can get to you after a while. I found this when I was working as a full time designer. It didn't matter how I felt, or how vague the instructions were given to me by a client, I had to come up with something. Having to do this day after day with no letup can be draining. At the end of the day, your clients or your audience doesn't care how hard it is though. They just want their work done well. this is true in all creative endeavours. I think that people who don’t work full time in the field don’t appreciate this aspect of it.
I'm not really sure what the moral of the story is here. I guess it's that you sometimes need to take a step back and try something different. If the weather is dark and moody, then shoot something dark and moody. It's that old adage of when you're feeling down, listening to a sad song will make you feel better rather than a happy one. Sometimes it's ok to just shoot for yourself too, and let yourself off the hook. Just shoot. It doesn't have to be a work of art. It doesn't even have to be good. Sometimes it’s enough to just do something.
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