A theme that seems to come up often when I’m writing these posts is the concept of being in a rut. Forever, I took it as this challenge to overcome, and if possible, as quickly as humanly-fucking possible. Trouble is, ruts are pretty easy to come by when working for daily newspapers. Not every assignment is going to be gold and you can’t always turn chicken shit into chocolate pudding. The assumption that I could started to bring me down more each time I failed. I’m starting to think my big mistake was assuming a rut was drastically lower quality work than I had been producing previously. I’m starting to look at things a bit differently.
I’ve got a few friends out there who empathize with the struggle of a rut. It seems to come up often when talking about creative work. And it always is reflected on as a cause for concern. I’m beginning to see ruts as the knowledge that I am capable of better work. Even if I’m not making it that moment, it’s somewhat comforting to know that I’m aware of where my work has been and still searching for where it’s going. The road to improvement is certainly more of a maze than a map. When you hit a dead end, you don’t start again at the beginning; you turn around and take a path you haven’t yet.
Outside of that, ruts aren’t so bad when you’re aware of the awesome experiences you’ve had along the way. The last few months, I’ve photographed a small slice of history as marijuana dispensaries opened their doors for recreational sales in Oregon, met and photographed a founding member of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, rekindled my senior citizen connection photographing people at a retirement community with their valuable antiques, hiked up to Green Lakes alongside a wilderness ranger, and witnessed young men take their first flights using gliders.
Also worth noting that it helps to find a good community to tell you when you’re doing something right, and more importantly, when you’re totally fucking up. Thanks to Joe Kline and Tess Freeman for helping me whittle down this recent work. Apologies for ignoring advice on photos you guys probably hated and including them anyway.