On frustration, passions, and a challenge to maintain motivation.

January 22, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Over the past few weeks, I haven't had my camera out of its case more than twice. I haven't edited the pictures I've taken on those rare occasions. I haven't... cared. After photographing the dramatic vistas of Montana, my local stomping grounds in Missouri seem even more gray and boring than usual. I've been spending most of my time bumming around with family and doing some small woodworking and tool refurbishing projects. However, try as I might to fill my days with doing things, I'm still bored and frustrated, like I'm in a car with its wheels spinning on ice.

Bit box

Photography is one of my passions. I will always make images, somehow. But that passion cannot exist in a void: photography as a byproduct is not self-sustaining. I take pictures of mountains because I like being in the mountains. I take interesting pictures of inclement weather because I enjoy challenging my own physical comfort. Those photos are not the reason for the trip – they are secondary, and so they lack inherent meaning. When I build a case for hand tools, or refurbish a wood plane, the action (enjoyable in itself) doesn't need to sustain itself, because the byproduct is a useful tool. An object, just as the photographs are objects, but one that can be used to create, to build. It has, in its usefulness, an inherent reason to be. To keep making photos, and have them sustain my motivation to keep working, the photos must be useful as a tool – each should have a purpose, a design. The products of that design may take years to reveal itself, but I imagine the future of my photography doesn't involve any more pretty sunsets.   

Who knows what's next? 


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