When ‘Failure’ to Some is Really a Success

A few years ago I took on my first “Project 365” – take a photo a day, every day, for a year. I admit I was nervous at first, wondering if I would have the dedication to actually shoot daily. I had some fears, too, especially considering the way in which I shoot and my reliance on an emotional connection or something to stir within me before I can call a photo my own or present an image to a client. I couldn’t count on that happening every day during the project, could I?

Despite the fear and concern, I trudged ahead – and then was completely absorbed in the project. I didn’t miss a day, and I grew as a photographer in ways I could not have predicted. I found out there was a lot I wanted (and at times, needed) to learn and know, and taking on the project underscored what I like and don’t like to shoot. And there were a few surprises along the way as well. Some aspects of photography that I shied away from or had convinced myself I wouldn’t enjoy I actually did enjoy, when I gave them a fair shake. And that realization opened up a world of inspiration and drive in me.

Fast forward a few years . . .

Now I’ve got a busy photography business, and I’ve exhibited my work in about a dozen galleries. And on the non-photography front, I’m working full-time, writing freelance and carting two active kids all over the place every night of the week, it seems.

When I decided to tackle another 365 project at the end of last year, I initially thought up a bunch of themes that might guide what I was doing. In the end I decided to wing it and shoot whatever I wanted.

And I did . . . until November.

Yep, I made it all the way to November and then I gave up. Part of me doesn’t like admitting this because to some it probably seems like a failure, especially since I was so close to gaining something — another series of 365 images. But really I was close to losing something far more important — my passion for this art form that I love and a decline in my ability to “see” photographically.

So here I’ll set the stage: most days I would leave work, pick up kids and head home, where I would help them with homework, oversee piano practice, referee their fights and put a quasi-nutritious meal on the table. All before it was time to rush out the door to some kid’s activity. And for the first half of the year or so I photographed pretty much everything in my path, even if it meant running out to the yard for two minutes to chase the light or find something remotely interesting to photograph.

But there are only so many times you can look at the same things day after day after day after day and see inspiration. For those of you who can, I admire you immensely. But I can’t. I can’t look at the same trees or grass or flowers or whatever right in front of me and see something new and fresh each time. I’m antsy. Some days were better than others. Some days the inspiration was pouring out of me. But as the year wore on, I would stand outside, look around and see . . . nothing. And with my crazy schedule it was more difficult than ever to take off with my camera until I found something that struck me.

I hated that. And I hated that the project started to feel more like a job than something interesting and challenging to grow from. I didn’t want to look at my camera and be reminded that I was uninspired by what was around me. I hated that the only thing that seemed to be growing in me was my agitation. It all began to wear on me and, as a result, I didn’t feel motivated to shoot, market myself, try something new, or update my Facebook business page or blog as frequently as I did before.

So there came a day in November when I felt the resentment growing exponentially and thought, “Why am I doing this to myself? What am I gaining?”

And that day I let it go. I have not felt even the slightest twinge of regret for having made it so far through the project and not seeing it through. You know why? Because now I pick up my camera and shoot when I’m inspired or hired — and I am always inspired when I’m in a session with clients. The clouds are clearing from my vision and I “see” now like I did before, perhaps better in some circumstances.

It’s strange that I know from 20+ years as a professional writer that sometimes I have to walk away from things for a bit so the inspiration and clarity can come and I can resume writing. For reasons I still don’t understand, I didn’t — or couldn’t — extend that same logic to my photography.

Until now, of course.

So the Project 365 was a bust if you look at technically – the end product being a photo taken every day of the year. But the realization of what I was starting to lose  — and have since reclaimed — is so much greater that I can only mark this venture down in the “success” column.

Want to see more of my work, keep in touch? Jump on over to my Facebook page!

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Best of 2011

I know, I know… it’s been a while since I posted. There is only so much I could reasonably blame it on but the truth is the only one I have to blame is myself.

I’ve been crazy busy with work, which is the positive. In the process I’ve neglected this blog, a big negative. And something I intend to remedy in 2012!

As we go barreling into the holidays and all the activities and “musts” that come with preparing and – I hope – enjoying the season (fa la la la la…), I’m taking the time to post now what I consider the better of my photos from this year. (More to come later on my Project 365.)

So here we go!

Although I intend to post again before the end of 2011, if for some reason I don’t or can’t, I hope you all have a wonderful and safe holiday and new year!

Come see me on Facebook!

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Project 365: Week 29

Colors, textures, people . . . sometimes everything all at once.  🙂

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Come on over to my Facebook page and see more of what I’m working on!

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Project 365: Week 28

The weeks just seem to fly by at this point.

Much more happening . . . come on over to my Facebook page and check it out!

Posted in children, clients, fine art, light, nature, out and about, photography, portraits, Project 365, still life, textures, week in pictures | Leave a comment

Project 365 : Week 27

I’m still here! I’m still here! Shooting away with this project and taking care of lots of sessions lately. So I have no cause for any complaints. 🙂

Seems like this week was largely the textures and geometry week. Funny how sometimes you notice a theme…after the fact. 🙂

Lavender…I have been drawn to it ever since seeing some fresh-cut lavender at a Farmer’s Market in Williamsburg a couple of months ago.

 

Blue and orange are by far my favorite color combination. I find it very soothing and inspiring.

 

Independence Day — the first time my kids worked up the nerve to actually hold sparklers. And they loved them!

 

Patterns, geometry, texture, depth of field….oh yes, I love them all!

 

Did I mention textures? 🙂

 

Now this was just a fun shot. I did some portraits of various members of a co-working space in Lancaster, Pa., called The Candy Factory. The space is located in an old building that has so many fun nuances and cool things on the above floors, including this rickety old elevator. My daring subject had quite a bit of fun climbing around in it.

 

The simplicity of a single drop…

 

You can find lots more on my Facebook page, so come on over and check it out! For questions, comments, prints or to book a session, drop me a line at jennifer@janusphotoarts.com.  Thanks so much!

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Project 365: Week 26

Made it to the halfway mark…and still chugging along.

(It was one of those sicky days. My dinner. Boo.)

Check out more of what I’ve been working on by popping over to my Facebook page. For questions, comments or to book a session, please e-mail me at jennifer@janusphotoarts.com.


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Project 365: Week 25

Believe it or not, I DO have some blog posts in the works that are not related to my 365 project. I know, hard to believe, huh?  Well, stay tuned! 🙂

In the meantime…

Coming home from vacation. Always bittersweet. I love being away, enjoying someplace I don’t get to experience as often as I would like to. And then again, there’s no place like home.

 

Trying to carry that relaxed feeling with me the first day home from vacation.

 

OK, it was one of those days. Back to the grindstone of work, shuttling kids to and from camp and a slew of other places, going through the almost-falling-over pile of mail from the time we are away. We had to get back to feeding our winged friends. My daughter was very concerned about our feeders being empty while we were on vacation. Guess they missed us because within an hour the feeder was almost empty.

Or else it was that squirrel. The one who has been looking a bit rotund lately.

 

Taking a closer look at some of the things we might pass by and miss every day. I love the color contrast.

 

Wow, hard to grasp all the things we learned when we were little. What big milestones! We learned to read, do math, tie our shoes, ride bikes, play games, use utensils (well, most of the time!). And not to overlook the little accomplishments, which seem so big when we are so small. Blowing (or ALMOST blowing) your first bubble.

 

I’ve been on a kick lately to add color to our house. A LOT of color. I snagged this a year ago while we were on vacation, and after painting the kitchen a wonderful, warm, burgundy, this colorful sunshine finally greets me every time I walk in the kitchen. It’s amazing what a little color can do for your mood.

 

Keepin’ it simple…

 

Hey, did you know you can find me on Facebook? Come on over and check it out? Would love to make your acquaintance!

 

 

 

 

Posted in about me, chasing the light, children, light, nature, out and about, photography, portraits, Project 365, seasonal, still life, textures, week in pictures | Leave a comment