Sunday, December 2, 2012

The (Sometimes) Sad Life of a Photo Blogger

Two Ducks Reflecting

That's what I'm doing today... reflecting. I'm not sure why I'm feeling sad, but that's a Blogger's duty somehow, isn't it... to tell his audience how he's feeling once in awhile? I mean, why not. Actually, as far as the Blog itself is concerned, I'm happy. I've just exceeded over 6000 views here, which is totally surprising to me. I know this is nothing compared with the "Big 3" who's Blogs I read every day - Mike Johnson, Ken Rockwell and Steve Huff, but I do not aspire to ever having the online presence these guys do - I'm just surprised that I get viewed at all, which is a great thing.

These Big 3 all have something in common, although they each take far different approaches to what they do, which is to have the privilege, and very difficult task of trying out all the latest in photo gear. This surely must be a constant pull away from the true art of Photography, into becoming a gear-head, because their audience expects them primarily to give their honest, unbiased view on all the latest cameras, which the camera makers gladly loan to them for review. I would find this exceedingly difficult, and I'm just as happy NOT to have to do this. I really prefer to talk about the pictures, and as far as equipment goes, treat that as the necessary component - the "brushes and palette" if you will, that goes into the making of the pictures. 

But alas, that's not quite what I'm going to do today. Instead I want to just talk a bit about why I'm feeling a little sad. Yesterday, in preparation for today's Post, I created a new Set in Flickr for all of my photos that have gotten 100 or more views. Here it is. A couple of them go all the way back to 2003, but most of them range from 2007 to 2011, with a handful from this past year. Looking at your own old pictures has a funny effect - you always come away feeling that you've seen happier days, that somehow, things were better then. Sometimes it's true, but usually, I realize, that's just an illusion. Things weren't really better - just perhaps a little different. A huge difference for me, of course, is that I'm still feeling a big gap with the recent loss of my mother, one month ago. With all of these older pictures, she was still here, her death was unexpected, and I really do miss her. 

Another thing that really came out from re-visiting these pictures is my life with Dystonia - a Neurological disease with similar symptoms to Parkinson's, although the root cause is very different, therefore these are two distinct diseases. Parkinson's is far more common, and so I often refer to it simply so people might recognize it a little better. Back in September 2008, I had a very radical brain surgery called Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) which is effective for both Parkinson's and Dystonia, although Dystonia enjoys the better long term outcome. I can look at my life in pictures from the point in time of having that surgery - my "Pre-DBS" and "Post-DBS" periods. Before the surgery, especially in the months of '08 just leading up to it, I am amazed that I could take pictures at all! Especially with no Image Stabilization, but I do recall how using my camera was actually therapeutic on most days - the creative act served to steady my tremors, and ease the painful spasms that I otherwise had no control over. After the surgery, which was on the whole about 70% successful in bringing my condition under control (and 70% success means I still have chronic pain every day), photography did not need to play as big a role in controlling my symptoms, so this made a big difference, although I cannot spot a particular change in my style after that period late in '08.

I came out of this little exercise knowing one thing - my style needs to change. What I'm seeing is an obvious repetition - I'm photographing the same things over and over, and it is time for a change. The problem is, I don't know what to change, and this is contributing to the way I feel, I'm sure of that. Usually, when a creative block such as this takes place, it's always good to look at the work of others. My subject matter is my surroundings, and not being much of a traveller, I expect that what I'll need to do is discover a unique new way of photographing the same old thing. 

I really hope it happens.

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