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Bridging the Gap Revisited

I wrote about bridging the gap back in October of 2011 on my Chasing Creativity blog. Since that time, the blog has been taken down and I have moved on with my creative pursuits. Yesterday, I was reminded of the post when I saw this video on PetaPixel. Going back and re-reading what I wrote, I feel that most of what I said back then is still very much true today. For that reason, I wanted to share what I wrote for those of you that might struggle with their creativity in the same way that I have and still do today.

Bridging the Gap

I came across this video of Ira Glass talking about Storytelling sometime last year. It resonated with me quite a bit at that time because I had just put my creative pursuits on hold. I thought about what he was saying for a couple days and filed it away as something to revisit later. I had all but forgotten about the video until I came across the following quote taken from it not once, but twice last week on Google+.

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.

Sitting there reading the quote and then re-watching the video left me with a really great feeling. It makes me feel good about picking up a camera again and diving back into my creative pursuits. While I originally put all this on hold because life got too busy, I always had those feelings of my work not being any good while I was knee deep in photography. I would shoot and shoot and shoot and come home disappointed because the images I brought back didn’t live up to my expectations. They weren’t as good as all the awesome work I saw online and that left me feeling discouraged. Now that I think about it, this discouragement likely made it easier for me to put my creative work on hold. I could focus on real life and forget about the fact that I wasn’t any good at photography, at least in my own eyes.

Coming across this again now just seems too timely to be a coincidence; it helps reaffirm the confidence I have now which I lacked a year ago. I still see a huge gap between my work and my taste, but I’m okay with that. I’m okay with the fact that the pictures I make don’t get a hundred comments on Flickr or any likes on Facebook. I’m okay with the fact that my work doesn’t stand up to the work of those I admire. I can now honestly say that I like the pictures I make and that’s what matters most. Because at the end of the day, I’m not pursuing anyone else’s vision, only my own. So I plan to keep making pictures and to keep writing because I love it and it makes me happier now then it did a year ago. And I’ll be okay if I never ever manage to completely close the gap between my work and my taste as long as I continue to love what I’m doing.

A New Direction

Photography has been a big part of my life for nearly six years now. During that time, my primary interest and focus has been on travel and landscape photography. I've occasionally delved into street photography, but for the most part, the images I've shared are devoid of people. The reasoning behind this isn't what you might think. You see, the reason I don't generally photograph people isn't because of a lack of interest. It's because the idea of photographing people has always intimidated me. Being someone that doesn't care to have his picture taken, the idea of pointing a camera at someone else has always made me somewhat uncomfortable. 

Something changed recently though; I married the love of my life. And as you might expect, getting married meant spending a lot of time in front of the camera. While this didn't make me any more comfortable with being photographed, it did give me some insight into the interactions between a photographer and his subjects. This in turn, gave me more confidence about photographing other people.

I had an opportunity to put this new found confidence to good use recently during a session for some good friends of ours. This time around, instead of feeling self-conscious, I found myself more relaxed which made it easier to engage and to direct. While I'm a long ways from calling myself a lifestyle photographer, I do feel that I've managed to turn a corner in terms of photographing people. I hope to have more opportunities to explore this type of photography soon. In the meantime, here are some of my favorite images from the time I spend photographing our friends.

Jet lag, the Wall, and Random Images from Paris

Seeing as this is the third morning in the row that I've woken up at 3am, it's safe to say that I'm still on Paris time. Speaking of Paris, what a beautiful city, eleven days and I feel like we only scratched the surface. Of all the cities I've visited, Paris is definitely the most photogenic. Funny thing is I feel like I hit a wall sometime during our trip, the photographic wall. The one that makes me want to put down the camera. The one that has made it hard for me to look at my images from the trip. And the one that has kept me from posting anything on the blog. It happens every year, so I know it'll pass. Only a matter of time.

Luckily, I did some editing in Paris so here are a few random images from our visit.

Catching Waves

Often times, I go out knowing what I want to shoot and how I want to shoot it only to return with something completely different. This was the case last weekend when I went down to Newport Beach to make some long exposure photographs of the Balboa Pier. I arrived at the pier Saturday morning only to find the area already full of summer visitors. I took a detour down to the end of Balboa Peninsula and walked back along the beach towards the pier. While walking, I turned my attention to the ocean and started making images of the huge waves crashing along the beach. I have always been fascinated by the breaking of waves and I ended up spending the morning creating photographs that could convey the movement and power of the ocean. While the photographs turned out completely different than what I set out to make, they did give me an idea for a new project. Here are three of my favorites from this recent outing.

The Sound of the Shutter

Sometimes I just need to hear the sound of the shutter. It's one of those odd things that I can't really explain and few people would understand, but there's just something soothing about hearing the sound of the shutter. We're spending this weekend at home so that means no excursions to the beach, or trips to a museum. These images are a good reminder that there are photographs to be made everywhere, even on our own little balcony.