It has been one year since I decided to take photography seriously. During that year I have been so busy learning and developing myself that I scarcely have had time to reflect on any beyond my very next step. It has been exhausting and exhilarating; it has been profitable and expensive. This past year has never, ever been boring. I have moved from machine-gunning photos randomly on my EOS 1dmkII to learning to take just one shot on my Mamiya film camera. I have started seeing my work as a development, a series and to see the outline of my style. I can shoot an event, a portrait, animals, sports, travel and recently did a garden calendar that will raise awareness and money for eco-education. I donated a print to raise money for cancer, and I even have some killer business cards. There was also building a website, starting this blog, and shooting about 300 commercial items for a catalogue in the spring. But it all comes down to what do I have to say as a photographer that is unique?
Last week I began reading a Folio Society book entitled Colour by Victoria Finlay. The book examines the idea of how colours are made, what they are and how the artist has lost touch with the secrets of their guild; it is these secrets which made them craftsmen. Upon reading that one paragraph, I realized that that is exactly what I need to aspire to become in a world of speed, fame, money and insubstantial art: a craftsman. Perhaps it is that epiphany that has driven me to slow down a bit, to not update my website or to chase light helter-skelter all over the planet. I have to admit that I am hesitant to finish any of my Japan series until I have a clearer sense of my vision, and that I am putting off exhibiting my works until I have refined my work to the point I am satisfied that it is good enough to stand up to the idea of it being crafted versus merely being produced.
In the time before Christmas I have decided to focus on learning the art of reading light and colour, manually focusing my lenses, and building a solid foundational portfolio of what I want to be known as my art versus the photos I take. My interest in glass and lenses has become a little more intellectual, and I cannot help but be fascinated at the genius behind those who engineer precision optics. It should continue to be a fascinating journey, so I do hope that those who read the blog will continue to see where it takes us.