...one of the most important keys to the successful art life is to understand the nature of disappointment, and to recognize it as something that can provide either disincentive or encouragement. Disappointment is a disincentive if it leads to frustration and sense of failure. It’s possible, however, to recognize disappointment as a form of success: as has often been said, “Even the person who falls flat on their face is at least moving forward.”
Letting Go of The Camera", I am fairly familiar with his basic ideas; perhaps the reading has been slow because I have been really thinking more about my own photography projects, implementing Jensen´s teaching. I see also that friends with a keen interest in photography, with Expensive Gear, are loosing interest because they are not thinking enough about what kinds of photos they want to make. It just doesn´t seem to be enough, in the long run, to want to "go out on a fine day and shoot some great pictures". It gets boring and disappointing if you come home with the same thing, over and over.
As Jensen says:
A project does not need to take a long time. There is nothing wrong with a project that develops slowly, and there may even be some virtues. But, more “spontaneous” projects, conceived and completed quickly, have their place in creative photography, too....and I have taken this to heart. Whenever I bring the camera, I try to formulate an idea about what I want to do differently this time. Sometimes I do it, sometimes I don´t. I had this idea about doing some proper, old-fashioned group photos for Christmas, but for some reason I didn´t think the mood was right. Or perhaps my mood wasn´t right. I am planning to give it another go, though. I suppose what I´m after is involving my friends and family in my creative process, and perhaps I need to think some more about how to make that a fun thing to do - for all of us. You know, how to make use of their creativity and make it a real collaboration. It´s very much trying to go beyond my comfort zone.
Another quote that caught my attention was this:
Figuratively and scientifically, a photograph is a slice of time, frozen for us to look at and see more intently than is possible at the speed of life. It is a “now” that is removed from the flow of time. Such language brings to mind what the Buddhist meditators call the “eternal now” — but in photography we have the ability to capture that eternal now and freeze its image — at least for a while, at least as long as the medium remains coherent. Indeed, no other media does this as well as photography.I have observed for some time that for me, the process of photography seem to anchor me to the present and give me more energy rather than tire me. I often hear the complaint about amateur photographers that they "hide" behind the lens, or that they are somehow not "there" in the moment, but just recording it or collecting it. It is true that some people can be said to photograph like scalp-hunters; I had an uncle once who would put my aunt in front of the Thing of Interest, take a snap and then go back to sit in the car and wait for the rest of us. But sometimes, this complaint means something else; it means: I want you to talk to me, be with me, instead of taking your photographs. This can be a valid complaint if you are often inaccessible to your loved ones, but more often than not, the conversation offered is more about other moments than the one we´re in right now, so conversation can be just another form of escaping the present moment.
Having Jensen as a kind of mentor is doing me good, I feel, both in my photography and in my writing. In my living, probably, as well. I am so happy about him that I have subscribed to Lenswork this year. I hope that will give me even more insight and inspiration!