Insights, continued

It's therapeutic and maybe even constructive to try to write out my realizations (perhaps 'insights' is a bit too glorious), and possibly others will recognize kindred things in their own lives. The confessional aspect may or may not appeal, but it's a handy armature for sorting through the maelstrom of thoughts that arise as I consider the contributions of others to this workshop.

My problem, if it's a problem, is this: my interests sprawl. There's a congenital and congenial absence of consistency and focus, or perhaps more accurately the focus keeps shifting, jumping the rails, finding new shiny things to be intrigued by. "Hareing off" is an apt description. The "god knows where he's off to now" gravestone rings a distinct bell.:

Seaside Cemetery, Tenants Harbor

My Flickr photostream is disorderly (not fully chaotic, but not even organized with keywords). The sprawl is somewhat mitigated in the albums, which do group images by something like subject, albeit idiosyncratically. The photostream does reflect pretty well the flux of interests, and the variety of locales I visit, but it's not primarily meant as a public gallery, and functions more as a sorting table for myself.

So what to do about this? Andy's prescription seems like good and eminently practical advice:

It has always been my habit to reflect on my own work; not as an act of self-absorption, but as a way to learn about my own (mostly unconscious) predilections. I go out (as I did today, to a local park) and take, say, a 100 or 200 photos; but then spend a lot of "quiet time" (distributed over weeks) just looking, comparing, deciding what works, what doesn't, and why; and putting what my instincts tell me are "good" images into a folder that I will at a later date do a second pass over.

I tend to get caught up in the stories that link photos, rather than in appreciation of the individual photographs as free-standing aesthetic objects, and the possibility of self-produced books seems the best outlet for those stories, once they've reached critical mass. My business model (give it away) sidesteps many of the entanglements faced by those who need to make money from their creative work, but sometimes I admit to myself that I'd like to hear a bit more adulation.

And then there's the experience of being bowled over or run under by the first encounter with a photographer whose vision and depth of technique is far, far beyond my own. It happens all the time (indeed, in looking at the marvelous work of others in our little group), and puts me through the same ignoble and invidious samsaric washer-cycle again and again. Envy and Awe and Insecurity make brief appearances on the stage of the psyche, cock their familiar snooks at poor little Ego, and depart, hooting derisively at Ego's inadequacy, pretensions, and dreams of photographic glory. A deflated Ego picks himself up and seeks solace in yet another Amazon order... On good days, Ego realizes (yet again...) that the above drama is all imaginary and has precisely nothing to do with the reality of sunrises and sunsets and the glorious opportunities each new day brings. On less-good days, Ego may hatch plots to repair those supposed inadequacies (another workshop, improved technology, transport to some distant and more glorious locale...). The vexatious part is the seemingly inevitable recurrence of this little karmic drama. And the recognition that it has its parallels in my musical life and also dogged my academic life too. The fault, dear friends, lies within.