Most people think you need to be in a big city to be a "street photographer", but that’s just not true. You can take me, currently out in bumble-fuck nowhere, and I still feel the urge to roam, explore, and photograph whatever I find interesting. Coming from Chicago, where there are absolutely endless possibilities and opportunities for great photographs, to a couple of rural towns within a fifteen-minute drive, that house about one to three thousand people combined, it's almost a complete 180° from what I'm used to… but you know what? That doesn't change you and how you photograph. You might just have to look a little harder, and spend more time finding photographs to make.
“Spray and pray” is a phrase you don't want to be associated with in the photography world. When it comes to orchards, and farming of fruits and vegetables, it’s quite necessary to ensure a good crop. We've only had two days this week when the weather was good enough to start spraying the trees. It has either rained, or was too windy, for spraying, and if this doesn't get done early in the season, it could ruin a lot of fruit once harvest comes around. Thankfully, we had a gap in all the bad weather. We had little-to-no rain on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Despite the fact that it was a holiday weekend, for those who celebrate it, the guys that handle spraying were more than willing to work and help us get a jump on getting this done.
That winter rut... Let me tell you one thing about it. Its REAL. It happens to the best of us. I'm pretty sure it applies to the non creatives as well. What is it about the winter time that slows down the creation process? Is it the extremely long months of dark and dreary weather? Is it the sub arctic temperatures(if you live in Chicago)? Or is it because you've consumed an obscene amount of comfort food and just really don't feel like getting off the couch? What ever the reason is, it happens to everyone at some point. I've felt like this for the last 5 months and i couldn't find a way out of it. I was almost at the point to where i wanted to say fuck it. Maybe this is just a hobby and It's not meant for me?
That was my mind set for quite some time, At least until i left for Vegas to see the rest of my family for Christmas. I knew i had a long day ahead of me. for some odd reason i decided to book a flight for Christmas eve and had a 4 our layover in Denver. What do you do when your stuck at airports for pretty much the entire day? Most people would probably say grab a beer and start enjoying vacation? No no, my first extinct was to walk around look for things to photograph. An hour or so went by and i had nothing. I was still completely depleted and finally ended up at the closet watering hole and grabbed a beer. I sat there for awhile and thought, whatever I'm just not feeling inspired. Its feels like its something i've just gotten used to the past few months.
I sat there and started to read some other people talk about what inspires their art. There was one blog that i read from Zack Arias. He posted a blog titled "Get the fuck to work" . If you haven't read it, i suggest you do. It's great to see someone strip themselves down and find the very core of who they are. One thing that Zack mentions is that inspiration happens in the process and what he means by that is, Sometimes you're not meant to just sit there and wait for lighting to strike you. You need to go seek out the thunder storms. So i finished and paid for my beer and started roaming around again. This time camera in hand and just started snapping. No thinking, planning, or preconceptions of any sort. I just started making photographs.
I'm typically not the type of person that likes to spray and pray. I typically live by the concept of quality over quantity, But then i thought more and more about it. Mediocre work or content is better than ZERO work or content. Do you wanna hear something crazy? Something so outlandish that it'll make you slap the person sitting next to you? It really does work. What an insane concept huh? Working sparks more work? The process of creation can spark inspiration. Now I'm off to go make more work. I don't know what it'll be just yet. I don't know where it'll be. I just know i have to go do it. I HAVE to create work. So i'll leave you with that. Stop reading this blog and go create something.
Who are you photographing for? I often times find my seeking the approval of other people, whether it be from friends, other photographer, or social media likes and follows. I know I've sat at a coffee shop a few times just after posting up a new picture on Instagram or Facebook and incessantly refreshing the browser or phone for new likes. i mean who doesn't like admiration from others? I don't want to make accusations but i think anyone who says they don't like appreciation or the approval of others is lying.
I recently had an image featured on an Instagram account and boom 1500 likes later i was obsessed. I started posting up more images to try and repeat my so called success. Success... What does that mean to you? The word is most commonly correlated to your financial status, the brand named cloths your wear or the the type of car you drive. I don't want to sit here and say i never yearned for any of these things, because i did. There were times when i used to put all the money i had from working at my 9-5 into car parts for my car. I would buy the newest phones and electronics.
This last year as been different though. I've spent a lot of my time reflecting and trying to understand myself better. Part of this process i've found one thing i really desire the most. My own happiness. As selfish as this sounds, I think you need to be happy for yourself first before you can pass this on to other people you interact with. The one person you should aim to impress is yourself. So i decided to go through ALL of my images. I'm not sure if people understand how many images i actually have that no one has ever seen. lets just say its nearing the 50k(not including film negatives) . I'm still in the process of narrowing it down to my favorite images but it's going to take some time.
I'm slowly whittling down my collection of images, but its taught me something in the process. I'm starting to learn and see a common theme between them all. I'm getting a better handle at who i am and what i enjoy. Before i end this blog post, I'll leave you with this. Do things for yourself, Create to make yourself happy and everything else will follow.
I can't remember my very first birthday, but I'm almost certain it involved several dozen of family members. First cousins, second cousins and the rest of their families gathered around a dinner table full of food. It was almost always a lined up buffet style, with barbecue pork on skewers, pancit palabok, lechon kawali, and so much more, i'd rather not think about because I'm already hungry as it is. We didn't reserve these extravagant food arrangements for birthday parties. We'll get together for holidays, any sort of sporting event championships, karaoke night (when someone just so happens to have a magic mic). As I look back at all of the parties we had, I recently started to realize and appreciate the idea of having a strong supporting network.
I want to go back to the word family for a little bit. What does it mean really? Is "family" someone you have a traceable blood relation to? Sure, that's the most direct answer. The word "family" to me means a person you have built a long and meaningful relationship with. Anyone that quickly takes a look at my collection of photos will clearly see that my family is what is photographed the most in my life. It's kinda hard not to when you have such an eclectic bunch of friends from so many different backgrounds. You'll also notice how much they've gotten used to having a camera in their face at all times. I'm usually completely ignored now which is great for me. It's so much easier capturing all the genuine candid moment we have.
"the most important thing right now is self awareness...knowing your strengths and weakness(es)". So i sat down, thought about it and here we are. Writing a blog about something I consider a strength of mine. I know there is so much talk out on the interwebs about introverts and extroverts. I don't really know which side I live on. What do you call a half and half? (closet introvert?) Some days I'm perfectly fine sitting at home binging on Youtube videos while thinking if I should order an entire large pizza for myself. Other times I'm up and about networking and meeting new people. I can honestly say I've made it through the majority of my life by the help of friends and family. Anytime I've needed help or just needed people to talk to, friends and family have always been there. It kind of baffles me how someone can go through life with out this type support.
I don't want to sit here and say i got by in life using the connections i have, but i certainly would not be the person i am today without the people I've surrounded myself with. Isn't is just human nature to want to be around other human beings? Is it crazy to think some people out there find a better connection with Cats, dogs, manbearpigs? Whatever or whomever it may be that you deem as your inner circle of friends and family. I only hope they help you keep your sanity throughout your life. I know mine has so far.
“The more complex the network is, the more complex its pattern of interconnections, the more resilient it will be.” – Fritjof Capra
"the most important thing right now is self awareness...knowing your strengths and weakness(es)" - Gary Vaynerchuck