Celebrating a new year is to me a bit a silly and useless event. The sun goes down and comes back up every day. There is nothing special about that. The definition of things as year, january and the first of the month are just conventions. Not entirely random, but still… just conventions.
But it doesn’t hurt to look back every now and then. A bit of retrospective to help frame where to go from here.
These last two years, that has been simple and not so simple. Simple, because thinking where to go next is rather simple: back to normality. Not so simple, because that hope has been smashed already before. Not entirely unsurprising, the road back to normality is a bit more bumpy than initially hoped, and has a lot more detours too.
A creative rut
In terms of photography, the continued effects of the pandemic have brought me into a complete creative desert. Even if travelling and day trips are somewhat possible – and luckily I travelled a bit this year! – there is a constant nagging feeling about it.
Home working, social distance, staying alert and avoiding risks – a small, safe bubble also creates a small own world. A small world with precious little input and interaction with the rest of the world.
I admire those that managed to find opportunity in this ‘reduced’ world for creative projects, or carrying on with their creative efforts like normal. For sure, I haven’t been able at all. As a result, many of my photos these past 2 years are ‘rinse and repeat’ – new attempts at the same images. Which then turn out just like the previous attempt, which doesn’t encourage which in turn brings down the drive and desire even further.
Arguably, even most of the holiday photos were real tourist snaps. But I can totally live with that, because at least I felt driven to make some photos.
Is it all bad?
Well….. yes-ish. It is all bad in the sense that it has to stop. At some point it will. And hopefully, at that moment, there is an abundance of energy and desire to dive into it.
I really like making photos, and working on capturing what I see. Ideally capture some of what I feel, the experience and impressions. None of that is happening now.
Still, it leaves time to work on technique. Get better with the gear I have, get much more experience with dark room printing. Contemplating which gear suits me best, and whether or not I need to buy, sell and try focus on getting one good system (film and digital). So that once the normality returns, I’m closer to pole position. That’s not all bad, even if it may mean there is more focus on gear than perhaps is good. Still, I strongly believe that matching your gear to your style and way of working is worth it.
In this sense, restarting this website with more focus on keeping a blog, rather than just share images, fits in. Writing postings like this one is an utter selfish activity. Putting thoughts into words help structure the thoughts.
So, enough retrospective. Time to look ahead. What is next?
First back to normality. And how much longer that will take, I don’t know. We all deserve to get there safe, healthy and with a real perspective of staying safe and healthy. Let’s get that done first.
So, bye 2021. I will not miss you one bit. And a hesitant welcome to 2022… I hope it brings what we’re waiting for. But…. once bitten, twice shy. So I’ll count on more focussing on dark room experience and more photos of superfamiliar places that I actually already shot before too. That way, anything else will be a bonus.
Of course, whoever made it this far reading this self-indulgent whining… I wish your year will be infinite better!