Hey everybody! RC here. I wanted to share with you a bit of a confessional and a great lesson that I just got this weekend- from an unlikely source. Past being giddy, it was one of those moments that gave me inspiration, closure, and excitement at the same time.
My confession – I spend a lot of time making pictures. Here at Kelby Media, we try our best to keep a foot in the training space and a foot in the real world shooting space to make sure that we can bring relatable information to you every week. This means that all of us strap a camera to our shoulders and hit pavement making images. These images end up on a computer, and we run Photoshop on them to make them great. Some of them get posted on a website, and some even get sold or donated to clients. For this, I am truly very happy.
Do you know where my pictures dont end up? My own walls.
On The Road
After filling hard drive after hard drive full of pictures, I can count only three shots that I’ve put up in my own home. Everything else has this barren feeling – pale white walls just staring back at me when I walk into my house. We finally jumped into buying our house down here in Tampa this past December, and my wife and I have been sitting there chatting with one another wondering what pieces of furniture we want to switch. Which pieces of furniture we want to add. Which graphic designer friend we want to bring in from the office to help us with with this conundrum of a home that feels to transient to be our own.
Secretly, I have been fighting a very different fight in my own head. As much as I have had celebrated moments in the pictures i’ve made, I cant help but have this pit in my stomach that says that my pictures are no good. Every time I share a shot, I think to myself “Eh, its ok.. but you see here.. this part could have been better if only.. ” and I rattle off the part that I thought was missing in it. Now don’t get me wrong.. I absolutely love being a photographer, and I absolutely love being “On the Road” of it. You see, I tell everyone that the moment that you pick up the camera in earnest and say to yourself “I want to do this, and I want to get better at it” you invariably end up on this road. At the end of it are the greats in your mind. In front of you, all of those specific things you want to learn. Where you are in that road is the absolutely most exciting place to be because you are always learning. I believe in this so much – the journey is the most important part. However – every now and again you just feel like you have been taking two steps forward and one step back. There are absolutely no signposts on this road, and you just yearn to wonder if you’ve made it a mile or a meter..
So we want to feel like home, and I want to feel like im closer to my goal, and no amount of shutter clicking is making this happen.
However, I’m still printing. Im still sending out the odd print here and there to a client. What could they possibly see that I dont?
Hipping My House
So I get a word from my friend Kevin at work that says Mpix is partnering with us to do something called “Hip My House” Where a winner gets their house done up in Mpix prints. (I’ll chat about that later.. it’s not really about this now..) There was one line in it that made me think .. “your own art”. Im sitting there thinking to myself, “Why dont I just own up to the pictures that I have and print what I love up there?”
I told Kevin that i’d be cool to make a video just showcasing my situation and talking about the contest. Separately, however, I bit the artistic bullet and went through Lightroom and looked for pictures that I thought I would want to see.. things that made me happy when I looked at them.
My Sources of Inspiration
As much as I loved so many pictures, the ones that I kept coming back to again and again were the fun shots that I would do on the weekends with my daughter Sabine. More and more I was going “Oh, this one is cool.. this one she looked cool… this one she looked so happy”
The more I did it, the more I noticed that she was the person that I turned to when I wanted to recharge photographically. Jenn and Sabine were the people I ran to do pictures of when I wanted to re-inspire. I picked a bunch of shots and I said “Im going to just get these done and fill this wall.. see what happens.. ”
In Front of Me All Along
I got my friend Rich Porupski (THANK YOU SOO MUCH!) to come in and organize them on the wall (Last time I tried to hang pictures, they had to call in a contractor to fix the wall at work.. ugh), and the more pictures went up, the happier I was. Jenn was over the moon too.
As it turned out, putting these pictures on these walls actually made our house feel more like a Home. Instead of looking for a Pier 1 or a Magazine for inspiration, the very pictures that I have been shooting all this time actually made my house feel like mine. (Sorry for the dark shot.. iphone late at night, but wanted you show you!)
Another thing happened – I started looking at the pictures and going “Hey.. this is pretty good. Hey this didnt come out half bad. Hey.. I really like what i’ve done with this.”
Right there, in front of me in my dining room were all of the signposts that I was looking for. Putting them in front of me on a wall let me see where i’ve been, where I am, and how far I am on this road. That gave me a great feeling of accomplishment. AND, I got the wall done!
I Learned Something Today
So.. a long ramble.. what are the takeaways:
Go through your pictures.. find the common bond that makes you go “wow, i’m so glad I did this one.” When you find that, thats your inspiration. Go there photographically when you need to recharge the batteries.
Find a spot in your home where you can put several pictures of yours, print them and hang them. The more you see them up there, the more you will realize that you are better than you think you are. You’re on the road and you’re moving forward.
And your art is your proof. Have a great Monday everyone!