I've just been spending a bit of time re-organising the contents of my web site. It's allowed me to review my own work quite a bit, and notice that there has been a progression - maybe considerably over the past two to four years.
I tend to spend a lot of time considering how things are. I have a streak of introvert about me which causes me to re-evaluate things on a frequent basis. Many people I feel, simply go about their lives without really considering just how far they've come. We do tend to spend a lot of time in the past and a lot of time thinking about where we want to be, but seldom do we really actually manage to sit comfortably in the present and enjoy it for what it is. I think that's what photography allows many of us to do: remove all the clutter from our minds - bills to pay, memories of past events, dreams of the future, and just exist.
But I think as photographic artists, we should take time every now and then to re-evaluate just what sort of photographer we are. I'm certainly aware that my style has been heading towards a more simplistic approach over the last few years. I also think my choice of colours is toning down a bit too. Maybe that's just a current thing for me. One day you feel you want to go one way with your work, another day you may interpret it in a very different way, simply because of how you feel.
We are dynamic after all.
Things are fluid, always in a state of change, and style can progress, stagnate as well as retreat back to an earlier style. Nothing should be cast in stone and I think we should be willing to forgive ourselves for any errors we have made. Because they're not really errors. We feel, we react, we produce work. Another day we are a different person and we respond and react in a different way.
So I've been going back over some of my earlier work and I'm almost tempted to bin a huge section of it. It embarrasses me to some degree. What I felt was good, I now feel a sense on unease about.
There is also, a temptation to go back and rework some images, but that way, I feel - lies madness. I'm not overly keen on music artists that I like revisiting their earlier work - simply because it smells of someone who can't leave something alone, and who can't move forward (even though I do believe every artist has the right to do whatever they feel with their own work).
But I mustn't be too hasty. It is, after all, this older work that has allowed me to do the re-evaluation I've just been describing. It is the basis for me noticing that my photography is constantly evolving and (hopefully) progressing.
And that is a good thing.
Postscript: A note about the first image you see in this article. Near the river outlet to Jökulsárlón lagoon in south east Iceland, bergs enter the sea. Each day there are different shapes and sizes of bergs littering the black sand and the view out into the atlantic. Occasionally you see some seals in Jökulsárlón lagoon and out in the sea too. It only occurred to me today whilst posting this image, that the little seal-sculpted out of ice is a nice metaphor for the seals in Jökulsárlón.
Further, the last image of Skógarfoss was my attempt to improve on the standard view that I keep seeing in everyone's portfolios of this location. Often I feel the foreground is a little boring, and with such a huge wall of water, what are you supposed to do with the composition? So I actually waded out into the ice cold water to get this curve in the foreground. I just felt the black sand on its own wasn't particularly captivating enough. I'm always looking for a bolder statement. Aim for 100% and you'll maybe get 70%. Aim for something extra special, and you may just get something better than 'ok'.