This winter has been one of the wettest and stormiest on record in the UK; rain a plenty, constant gale force winds and sunshine in short supply. This image was made on one of the few days of uninterrupted sunshine and relative calm we’ve had since the New Year.
Week 7’s recipient is once again, Moni Smith. Moni was drawn as my parter for February as part of the international postcard exchange I’m part of. Moni has just developed a new website showcasing her work, do go and check it out here.
Waiting to hear if a postcard has arrived is sometimes like waiting for a bus, you wait for ages and then two or three come along at the same time. This week was just like that. As week 5 was sent to the USA, I knew it would take a while to hear. As Week’s 6 postcard was sent closer to home, to Juliette Wiles in London, I knew I’d probably have a double postcard blog post this week.
I met Juliette on my trip to Bhutan in 2012. Juliette is an excellent photographer and I’ve been lucky enough to go to her two recent London exhibitions. Her latest, of images from her trip to China, was particularly memorable. You can see Juliette’s work at her website, J M Wiles Photography.
Week 6’s postcard, To the sea, is another black and white image. Looking back over the last six weeks, I see that I’ve produced more black and white than colour images. It wasn’t planned that way, but the subject matter has been best interpreted in black and white. For this image, I’ve produced my first ‘behind the scenes’ video. This shows the conversion of the RAW file to the black and white image. The video is an experiment and probably a little long and has no commentary, so I won’t be offended if you nod off or hit the stop button!
A major part of my 52 postcards project is to share my images, in the form a print, with others and I love it when I hear that the postcard has arrived. Week 5’s postcard, Into the light, was sent to Sarah Mackenzie in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, USA. I came to know Sarah in 2008 when we were both doing a 365 photo a day project. It was so encouraging to share that creative journey with others and Sarah was both an inspiration and support. As well as being a talented photographer, Sarah is also a knitter and regularly blogs at Sheepless in Rhode Island.
Into the light was taken on Worthing Pier on 1 February 2014. It was a very windy but sunny day and I spent a couple of hours walking along the seafront making images. Due to the strong light and sharp shadows I decided that converting the image to black and white produced a stronger image.
Perfectionn 1. the act of perfecting or the state or quality of being perfect. 2. the highest degree of a quality
Creativeadj 1. having the ability or power to create. 2. characterised by originality of thought or inventiveness; having or showing imagination
The Collins English Dictionary
I find myself in a contemplative mood of late; musing on being creative and how I express this through photography. While walking with my camera today, I started to think about how my inner drive for perfection might actually be stifling my creativity.
Exhibit 1 – it took me over a year to pull together a Blurb book on my trip to Bhutan in 2012. Why? I kept faffing and fiddling with the images and layout. I wasn’t happy with the post-processng; felt all the images should have the same ‘look’; a similar crop; were they good enough to be printed? The final drive to actually get on with the project was a time limited 25% discount offer. In this case money counted. So am I happy with the final book? Yes and proud of it too.
Exhibit 2 – at the start of my 52 postcards project, I spent an entire afternoon trying to print the perfect 4 x 6 postcard. I wanted an even white border around the image, but my printer wasn’t co-operative. After much experimentation in Lightroom and more wasted prints than I care to admit to, I finally got something I was reasonably happy with. After so much time spent trying to print the millimetre perfect postcard, is the end result really any better? No, not really.
I have many more such examples, but won’t bore you with them here. What I’m driving at is, am I putting too much energy and time into striving for perfection and not enough in risking producing something, that while not perfect, may be more creative? I know the answer, I just need to act on it. Let go, create my best work but not fret over a millimetre here and there.