A few years ago, I used to be good at photography.
I say that with tongue-in-cheek because I know it’s not true. I simply fell from grace in the world of Skip Hansen Photography, ie, lost interest, lost motivation, lost the enthusiasm for what I was doing. Part of that photo-apathy was do in no small part to the time I spent doing some weddings and portraits for money. Although the money was decent, the misery was almost overwhelming. I had finally realized why photographer blog posts continually stated they could no longer withstand most of the egregious conditions and total lack of appreciation and satisfaction that come with that end of the ‘business’.
I still find a total and complete fascination with photography, always have, always will. My affection for this art lies in that word: art.
I did something this morning that I have been dreading – starting my dredge through the photo archives living within a few different hard drives and two separate computer systems. Why have I dreaded it? The usual. “What if I found those old photos to be, well, not any good?” The George McFly line from Back to the Future rings true here, “What if nobody likes it. What if I’m no good!” Sometimes I feel I have become the personification of George McFly – maybe I always have been. Self confidence non-existent…dork…geek…personna non grata. Miles Raymond and Charles Bukowski come to mind here as well!
But…however…my internal spark is still there, somewhere. Doused by recent medical issues (pain), a job-for-money not representative of my loves, talents, and desires, the spark still twinkles. In fact, it has been reignited by my initial foray into the archives. Damn, I used to be pretty good at it!
Jen and Roth visiting us a few years ago (pre-Seattle I think, definitely pre-Rowan). Roth cooked, Jen and I photographed. We actually took some great shots of the wonderful food that Roth knows how to pull off with what appears to be little effort. He’s a great chef and food stylist.
He made some Asian Spare Ribs, Hummus, Spring Rolls, and a Sesame-Crusted Ahi Tuna dish. They were all elegant and, yes, flavorful. We set up photo lights and did it all right.
I have hundreds, if not thousands, of archived photos that need to be reviewed and organized before I jump back into the photography spring like I should. Most of the so-called good stuff is fine art, still life, food, and land/seascapes. These are the subjects that bring me the biggest thrill and satisfaction.
If someone wants a portrait from me, I will consider it. A wedding? Heavens, no! Bridezillas are only overshadowed in their unrelenting desire to get something for nothing by the mothers-in-laws that lurk in the backgrounds. By the way, the last wedding I did about six years ago tainted me forever. The bride continually called and harassed me for making her butt look too big. My fantasy response (which I never uttered to her face), “Have you looked in the mirror? You are homely and you have a big ass, lady! Deal with it.”
I am still good at it. We photographer types, though, are notoriously horrible at the business end of this art. We sit in darkened offices in front of glowing computer screens, editing, reviewing, and degrading ourselves. While we should be spending more time photographing things and relishing the idea that we have something to offer someone. And, of course, sending it out beyond the confines of our hard drives. Who knows, maybe somebody will like it! Perhaps that’s my biggest fear – success.
Like most artists, we are of the starving variety. Starved of money and recognition. However, we do not want for desire. I have never lost that.
A link to my flickr page if you are interested in seeing more. Of course, it’s only the top of my iceberg.