“I Can’t” – A Photographer’s Phrase From Hell!
This is the post that caused the most private e-mails ever to arrive in my inbox! Happy to see that it did some good for others.
Stem & Foliage – Abstract
© 2005 – Michael Brown
* Copying/downloading of images is prohibited.
Those two words, “I can’t”, is one of the most common phrases that you will hear from photographers or artists and especially from those who are just learning their craft. It is the phrase that will often bring a individual down into the depths of where they will never want to be. You will never get to where you want to be in photography if you continually and verbally speak those words. It is “not” a good thing!
Yet, … it just recently happened to me, but this is the image that brought me back from that hell!
It was the last few weeks of September and into October of 2005, that I found myself in one of the worst creative funks that I had ever experienced. At that time, I did not know what brought all of that on to me. Sitting in the chair, no urge to do anything really! I felt that I did not want to go out and shoot, not to get on the computer to do some much needed editing, not to visit my favorite photography forum, … it was a bit maddening. Things just did not seem right. Nothing seemed right! Things seemed to be so repetitive, even the dozen or so top news stories seemed to be repeated every 30 seconds on television. Was it depression? Depression can come at you in so many different ways and blind side you. But no, I don’t think that was the case here.
So what was the problem?
As I said, I was beginning to wonder if it was depression but then thought about how I did not hesitate to get out with my sons, to go out and play with the dog, talk with the neighbors, do a bit of gardening, … but I did not want to pick up a camera, … or did I?
Yes, deep down inside I realized that I wanted to shoot but found myself not being able to think about what to shoot, or how I would wanted to shoot something. Just could not concentrate on it at all!
One day I was sitting in the chair and listening to that news that simply kept repeating itself, when I looked over into the computer room and then looked at the camera bag sitting up on the desk. I thought to myself, … “I can’t”.
I cut the television off and sat there in silence for awhile, and it seemed that my dog Flash could sense that something was not right at all, as he jumped up into my lap and layed his head on my chest.
I kept thinking about how I would like to get out and shoot, but I can’t think of what to shoot or how I want to shoot, I can’t get myself in a creative mood, I can’t see any kind of vision at all of what I want to do in photography, ….. I can’t, …
Well damn it, “yes I can” I thought to myself. I then got up off my ass, went over to the bag and pulled out the camera and lens with a couple of reflectors and headed for the back door of the house. I stopped for a moment, and asked myself did I want to go out and see if I could find something that inspires me?
This is when I decided not to “hope” that I find something outside, but to “take” what was “given” to me, and to create from that.
I decided before I even opened up that door, that I was going to shoot the very first and closest thing at the bottom of the steps with foliage no matter what it was or what it looked like, shoot it creatively, and not come back inside until I had something that appealed to me.
I came across this lone plant at the bottom of those steps coming out of the ground and at about 4 or 5 inches in height. It was somewhat seperated from other little grasses/weeds. I noticed how it seemed to stand out. “I noticed”!
That was a part of my problem, “not noticing” things. My eyes were open but mind was not.
Couple that with those words from hell “I can’t”, and suddenly I realized that I had been in the worst of “burn outs” that I had ever known.
Not just in photography, but in anything that you long to do, those words “I can’t” can kill whatever goals and creative juices you may have. I honestly think that those words nearly did me in, at least in the world of photography.
I shot this small plant with different lenses, different lighting, some close, some from a distance and shooting it through other foliage, … I was creating again.
This image appealed to me.
This image here has shown me that “I can”. It has shown me that “I can” shoot whatever my visions are for a given subject. “I can” pick myself right back up after falling down. “I can” enjoy photography. “I can” enjoy creating again and “I can” have some fun. “I can” find beauty in this world of ours!
If you ever say those words “I can’t”, then you should also say to yourself “it’s only temporary”, because I know good and damn well that you can!
When I was a little kid and would tell my mom that “I can’t” do something, she would always say, “Can’t never could do anything”!
Please don’t ever tell me that you can’t do something!
Is 2006 your year? Can you do it? Can you get where you want to be in your photography? Can you be patient and simply work hard at it? Can you take “one step” at a time? Can you answer “yes” to all of these questions?
Well, ….. if there is one thing in this world though that “I can’t” do, that is, to cook like my mom!
She is surely a notch above most southern cooks!! : )
(This post does not have the original “Blogger” comments, as they would not automatically transfer when the move was made to “WordPress”.)
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.