I was discussing my plans today for my forthcoming trip out to South America to run two photographic safaris (Patagonia and Bolivian altiplano). I have a week to kill in Patagonia, and the conversation came round to me going back to Easter Island. I've been wanting to return for some time. Way back in 2003 I came here, found the place too small to be for more than a few days and quickly got cabin fever. It was only once I'd gotten home, that I was able to digest just where I'd been, and to think about how amazing the entire island is. I never really 'got it' at the time, so without any planning, I've just found today that my plane ticket has been changed to take me there in early June.
Wish me a good photographic trip!
I feel sometimes, I need to go twice to a location before I can shoot it - first time to get my bearings, and get acquainted, the second time to get to work and make the most out of the place. In Easter Island's case, I think I just went there far too early in my own photographic development. I'm intrigued by the idea that we do our best work when we find a place not only inspiring, but that we reach a point in our photographic development / skill, whereby we understand the place and know how to shoot it.
Some of my portfolios are better than others.
Every now and then, I feel I've reached a peak in what I do, and then find that further work does not maintain that level. I'm ok with this. The ebb and the flow of creativity means that some things will be better than others, and there's no telling just when I'm going to hit a coal-seam worth mining.
But timing is important.
Some landscapes can aid in our photographic development, and bring us to a new level in what we do, while others can hinder it.
We've not reached the maturity level required to know how to tackle them. Our skills are out of step with what they require to do them justice. Maybe we're more at home with them, than they are with us....
I feel I didn't get on well with Easter Island on my first visit in 2003. I'm sure I wasn't ready to photograph it, and as a result, I tried desperately to make something of it, when I didn't really 'see' it. I think this is a question we should ask of ourselves. File it under 'self awareness', but if you'd much rather not go around making blunt attempts at capturing the essence of a location, maybe you need to consider if you've reached the level required to 'understand' it, and know how to convert that understanding into a successful photograph?
Wish me well for my return to Easter Island :-)