Sunday, January 4, 2009

Embracing Photography's "Offseason"

I overheard myself grousing to myself about the oppression of winter forcing an offseason upon my photography -- as it's dark, it's cold, and there is nothing good to shoot -- and longing for the world to turn so I could start in again with The Beast.

I took myself aback. Is winter really a forced offseason for my art? Where was the Quixotic spirit of optimism and determination in that bit of victimization? Perhaps my oppressor is not Mother Nature's icy demeanor but rather my own creative laziness and antisocial hobbitness?

Dang. Could this yearly rut be simply self imposed? But what of those barriers to winter photography?

It's dark! Dawn comes late and night falls fast these days, so my early morning prowls are done in the dark and it's still dark when I'm off to work or pitching clinic and already dark by the time I escape.

It's cold! At 15 below, or even 15 above, the romance of wandering "out and about" to find something fun to shoot fades fast in fear of frostbite as artistic patience becomes arctic pain amidst the wind and sleet.

There's nothing good to shoot! The lush landscape and blue sky have gone grey, the flowers are dead and buried, the zoos are closed, the bugs and bees are hybernating, there is very little roadkill, and indoor sports don't lend themselves to 1/640th at 5.6 ...

Wow, those are whiney! While there may be a glimmer of truth in each of the three, there is certainly nothing insurmountable -- especially if one were to maintain that nothing is insurmountable ... So what is it that truly drives the hesitation that keeps my eye from the lens?

Indoor photography has always felt a bit more intrusive and awkward to me. Nothing shatters the subtley of a moment like a flash. Plus, the proximity is sooooo much closer: it's far less conspicuous to wander onto a sideline than it is to wander into a room of people. All in all, I dread being a distraction at events and causing angst among my subjects or observers.

The solution? More creativity and less antisocial hobbitness, perhaps.

Seek out new activities to photograph: Last year, I "discovered" gymnastics and hockey and earlier this year I shot swimming/diving for the first time. I had to forgive the grain and allow some blur to get the images, but they've been fun. I should do more -- and what of skiing? Or wrestling? Or curling? Likewise, I took my first band gig photos earlier this year (here's Kendra from 'The Stray Dogs'). I should do more -- and what of theatre? Or ballet?

Seek out people who like to be photographed: Emily's photoshoot was fun because she wanted to be photographed and participated in creating each shot with poses and outfits and laughter -- perhaps there are others out there who enjoy being photographed and would be willing partners in creative settings as I experiment with an undeveloped aspect of my photography.

Think outside the house: Perhaps it is time I bundled up a bit and sought out some "Vermont in the winter" images ... both the classic blue sky beauty and the grey desolation ... maybe even some black & white work ... as, at very least, it would be an excuse for hot tang upon return ...

Hmmmm. Some interesting potentials there -- if I can get out of my own way!

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