Today I've been printing some of my work. Having a fully calibrated system at home has given me great confidence in my work from concept to final print. It's just great. I don't like to go over my older work too much as I feel that what's done is done. But printing some of these images today from my favourite island here in Scotland - Eigg, I have been considering something that Brooks Jensen covers in his fantastic book 'Letting go of the camera'.
Brooks discusses how a lot of budding photographers are keen to get out there to make images, but never seem to have the time - time as we all know, is a precious commodity. Brooks suggests that many photographers use their busy lives; family & work commitments as a way to explain why they never quite get round to creating that body of work they have always meant to do.
In his article, Brooks also discusses famous photographers, and how he, tends to view them as people that lead exceptional lives, which he knows is incorrect, because as he points out; Ansel Adams would have mown his lawn from time to time and even taken the trash out. In other words, as much as we put some very talented people on a pedestal, and like to think that they create work because they are different from us, they are still human, and still have all the time constraints placed upon them that we have. They too have family commitments and work commitments (yes, pro photographers don't spend all day meandering about making great art).
If I look at my own life at the moment, I'm aware that for the past two years, I've been so busy running a workshop business. I've not had as much time as I'd like to dedicate to my own photography.
But looking back at some of the images contained within my A2 print out today (See above), a lot of these were created during the tail end of workshops. In fact, I'd go as far as saying that although I've had less time to be on my own and make images, I've created some of my best images to date over one year simply because I was on location more often than not (admittedly, I had very little time while I was there, because my priorities were to run a workshop and spend as much time with my clients - but I did manage to make some of my best images all the same, because I was outside more times than I have ever been in any other vocation that I've held in the past).
A lot of us think that we need to go somewhere special to make images. We also think that we need to set aside some special time to do it in. Only when the circumstances are perfect - no pressing engagements, no work commitments, no family commitments - then we will be free to be creative. We believe that, until that time is here; we can't be productive or make good images, or tune into our creativity. We essentially put a limit on our photography before we've even set foot out the door!
I think when we give ourselves those sets of rules to be creative within, all we're really doing is procrastinating. It's been cleverly disguised as some valid reason, but it's just another form of creative constipation.
I'm sure that if we want to create art, we will do so, no matter what the obstacles are.
ps. I intentionally show you two images here: the first is the file used to print on my Epson 4880, reduced for the web, while the second is taken with my Lumix GF1 of prints generated from the same file (raw, with no colour applied - I fully appreciate that digital devices such as digital cameras are not colour accurate - but the tolerances here are small and ilustrate reasonably well the colour accuracy I have in my printer set up).