When you consider the hourly rates of professional counselors, therapists, and psychologists, it’s no wonder most of us opt for self-help techniques in our quest for improvement. I was going to say growth, but I’ve come to detest that gauzy word as it’s usually paired with a cheap photo of somebody who owes it all to (insert seminar/book name here). Hmmpf.
I didn’t really wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. But I was thinking about what I might do photographically in this coming year to make it better, and that was almost as bad because it made me think about what I didn’t do this year. And that was…pretty much the same as last year, and the year before.
I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t schedule shoots on a regular basis, instead doing most of my photography on trips with my wife. Fine times, but they require compromises and I miss out, sometimes, on early and late light. (Breakfast on the road, by the way, is the best meal of the day). I didn’t join any photo organizations, didn’t attend meetings about current issues that affect photography, and even let a couple of magazine subscriptions lapse. So what’s wrong with me?
Nothing, really. There are photographers who spend months away from their homes each year, logging millions of travel miles and countless image files, but I couldn’t be one of them (I enjoy my life at home, and would miss the cats). I’m not driven, never have been, and accepted that truth (mostly) after a lot of the self-evaluation we tend towards at this time of year. Popeye said it best: “I yam what I yam.”
But if I can’t reinvent myself I also don’t have to accept the same old version year-in and year-out. I can fiddle with the details, change the channel when necessary. I might try a different lens this year, or do a bit of city shooting. I expect to make a few nice pictures, enjoy them in the moment, and move on.