Final post before the big 2013 wrap up that I’ll probably post next week. The last few months have been long, slow and painful for myself. But that’s been my fault. I must admit, I’ve been losing The Magic for a while now.
You know, The Magic. The thing that makes photography and photojournalism the reason to wake up everyday.
It’s a difficult thing to explain I guess. Particularly when you lose it.
I could describe it as passion, but to me it’s more like the precursor to that passion. It’s the drug that makes you all tingly while you’re shooting. The buzz that silences everything around you and let’s you focus on the things that need to be seen. It gets you to your assignments 30 minutes before they start and keeps you there an hour after they end. It’s why you lose track of time sitting in front of a computer going back and forth between two virtually identical photographs.
So why’d it go? I don’t know. I’d like to say it’s been the never-ending flood of press conferences, glorified building mugs and otherwise generally shitty assignments. But the truth is, it’s me. I’ve spent the last year agonizing over my future and forcing myself to produce work that I feel will propel me forward into something bigger and better than where I’m at now. I’ve shot most assignments with a mechanical process, trying to make every shot into what I know it’s “supposed” to look like. And in the process, I’ve been taking out the fun and, more importantly, making the work about me.
The Magic isn’t mechanical though. It’s a dance. Or music. Something that doesn’t stick to any sort of rigid structure. It leads by feeling and understanding and intuition.
I’ve let my fear of the future, my anxiety about paying bills and supporting myself take control of my work and force The Magic out of it. But the truth is, if tomorrow I didn’t have a job anymore, couldn’t support myself through my photography, I’d want to find comfort in the fact that I was able to experience the world the way The Magic allows for as long as I did. I’d want to look back at my photographs and realize that they meant more than just what I squared up in my viewfinder. That they represented the people and experiences within them, more than myself.
Luckily for me, it’s slowly creeping back into my work.