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Author Topic: Art vs daily responsibilities  (Read 4548 times)
-Tom-
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« on: December 12, 2012, 02:40:25 PM »
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How do you guys manage the balance between dayjobs and daily chores, money, you know, the "race" versus creating art, being free in mind and relaxed to create.

I often find myself thinking about monatery side of things and I'm 99,9% it blocks my creative side. For instance - I know a great great place where I can shoot really nice vista (and who knows what else, I don't want to limit myself to shooting land...) but then I start thinking in math (trip will cost me X amount of $, I will lose entire afternoon) and then I do - nothing.

Anyone with good advice how to deal with these troubles?
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Jaffy
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« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2012, 03:28:04 PM »
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Hi.
All I would say is, would you like to look back on your life in 20 years time and realize all you have done is work?
personally I find that making the effort to go out for a day puts me in a much better mood when I'm back at work and  makes it more bearable.

good luck.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2012, 10:21:27 PM »
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I kept my "day job" (as a professor of math and computer science) for 35 years before retiring. For the past six years, since I retired, I've been able to pursue my artistic enterprises (photography and music -- flute in a klezmer band) wholeheartedly, and I'm having a great time. Enough people like my work so I get a fair number of exhibits, but not many people are actually willing to spend money buying prints. No matter. I photograph for myself and not for any client. My savings are likely to keep me going for quite some time (at a modest rate of expenditure).

For the 35 years that I was gainfully employed, it always felt as if I were stealing something when I took time out from my busy life to photograph. No more.

For those who have the choice (and I know it's mot everyone), I strongly recommend retirement!

Cheers,

Eric M.
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David Sutton
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« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2012, 11:45:54 PM »
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Hello Tom.
Of course ďdoing the mathĒ will block your creative side. That's inevitable, isn't it? I'm currently mulling over a rant on how we can either be in control of our workflow or we can do art, but not both. One variant of this is that as soon as you focus on the arithmetic your creative side walks out the door. Mind or heart. Taking risks or living in regret.  Being in the outdoors or sitting on your bum.
If you don't like that approach, here's another way to think about it. Say you have spent $500 and several days on purchasing your camera gear. Are you then going to fret over $50 in petrol and an afternoon?
Half my life ago at age 30 I was in a sales job I didn't enjoy and decided to learn classical guitar. How to work all day and have time to practice? Well I identified the television as my biggest time waster based on the fact that I couldn't recall anything I'd seen the previous week. Once I'd put an axe through the appliance it became possible to work, get the chores done and study too. YMMV. It was quite revealing that once I started paying attention to my intuition doors started opening. After being a music teacher for over twenty-five years I don't regret a moment. Unlike Eric I have no retirement plans but I do recommend doing what you enjoy while you can.
If you would like some motivation have a look at this article from TOP: http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2012/12/get-it-done-while-you-can.html
Cheers, David
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Jim Pascoe
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« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2012, 02:21:51 AM »
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There is plenty of time for doing everything really, as long as you don't waste too much time doing nothing (like being on sites like this).  Is it not true that a lot of 'art' is produced by the most troubled souls in the most trying of circumstances.  For a young person there must be very few who can spend their time not having to think about money and survival - that is the nature of life.  But then I combine my love of photography with work, and get paid for doing it.  If I want to be creative I can usually mix that into whatever job I happen to be shooting.  Shoot the standard stuff first, and then the more creative pictures to suit my mood.
For instance two days ago we were photographing a local choir, and then on the way home my wife suddenly noticed some interesting light as we were driving through the Forest.  I swerved off into a lay-by and we then spent half an hour getting wet and cold photographing some trees.  Then back home to download and edit the choir pictures.  I have attached two pictures from the morning.  In relation to your question though - remember I don't claim to be producing art - just pictures I enjoy shooting.

I would never presume that there are people out there that are prepared to pay me to take pictures just for my own pleasure.  Do what you have to do for the money, then shoot the pictures you want for your own satisfaction.

Jim
« Last Edit: December 13, 2012, 02:24:54 AM by Jim Pascoe » Logged
-Tom-
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« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2012, 06:49:11 AM »
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Thanks for the insightful advices.

I didn't mean to use the word "art" in a pretentious way, just wanted to point to creativity and expressing one self...I believe one can create when his mind is clear......and I have a hard time clearing my mind while thinking how to make more $, how to make everything I want happen now instead of later, basically the typical crossroads on materialistic and spiritual ways Cheesy
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LoisWakeman
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« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2012, 12:01:59 PM »
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Tom - I have three different jobs to make ends meet (mostly self-employed) so I sympathise with your dilemma. I often feel stymied by lack of time to pursue my creative urges (pottery and photography). The pottery demands chunks of time and has to wait for the weekend or a rare free day. But I take 95% of my photos within a mile or five (often a walk) from my house - so that makes a quick foray possible.

It isn't always necessary to plan a grand trip to find opportunities; in fact, concentrating on the local can force you to be more creative with what you have - I have recently taken to exploring intentional camera movement as a way of making the ordinary special for instance. YMMV of course - but can you find inspiration outside you back yard perhaps?
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AFairley
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« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2012, 01:13:25 PM »
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I am a full-time attorney, and between work and family demands there is little time left just for me.  No longer do I have the luxury of roaming the city for hours with my camera as I did in my 30s when I was getting by on (at different times) part time jobs or a part time photo studio.  So I have to look for interstitial time gaps.  I almost always have my camera on the seat next to me in the car and am looking opportunities at each stop light (a technique that will teach you how to work really fast, I might add).  After a court appearance downtown, I will take the time to walk around for an hour with the camera.  It's enough to keep my creative juices flowing, though I would love to be retired and have an abundance of time for it.
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Rob C
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« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2012, 04:34:32 PM »
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Been a while, but here's a sixpence:


Ah, time.

But the trouble is, it isnít really about time at all: itís entirely about our own souls and money.

Money allows a certain freedom of operation, but it doesnít offer the incentive to do the Nike thing. In fact, if anything, I suspect that it does quite the opposite in that it removes any sense of urgency or of priorities determined. When you can do anything you like because you have both time and enough money, you might actually find yourself asking yourself what the hellís really worth the doing. Thatís why so many yachts never leave home waters: been there, done that, so why do it all again? Iíve asked the question, been given that answer.

If anything, I discovered in my youth that not having a lot of money to spend made a positive difference in that it provided urgency and motivation to make-do in ways such as designing my own flash umbrella system, which consisted of a large gentís umbrella painted many coats of white. To an accessory shoe screwed onto the shaft was connected a portable flash unitís head, and to another part of the shaft a bare, domestic 150w bulb modelling light. That little combo paved my way into fashion and onwards. When I could, I threw it away (the home-made brolly) and bought monoblocs. The rest, in my little world, is history. So, striving does help. And thatís how it was for the rest of my career Ė a constant process of finding work to satisfy the habit, the craving to make images of pretty girls. I lived in Glasgow; I could have made more money much more easily shooting whisky bottles every week, but that wasnít what photography was about, for me. It didnít seem worth the time, doing anything else.

Now, reluctantly retired, the urge is still strong but the support system for the craving has long departed. Companies have crashed; some have changed hands and along with that, top management; political correctness and the power of the Ugly Sisters has crushed the joy (or courage?) out of some companies and I look upon a world that has changed. Where there was glamour there is only porn; porn was ever with us, but now itís the only game in town and I still donít want to play.

Landscape photography seems to be the burning quest of many (not surprisingly) on this forum, and folks obsess about what may be the right equipment to use, how to process and on and on. Why donít people into the genre grasp the fact that it doesnít much matter: if the joy is in creation, surely, then, that should come from simply being there and waiting and capturing what God offers the ready mind? Whether thatís really creative or not is a mosquito bite that Iíve scratched before, and itís really up to the individual to decide for himself: what others think shouldnít matter a damn. In fact, if coming up with the best rendition of the scene is the objective, rather than simply being present as witness, Iíd suggest one go to large format transparency and stop right there. Scrap the bloody printers and computers and save all that precious time and energy spent fretting over it all. Instead, buy a great lightbox because nothing else will come close.

So maybe one has to decide: is it photography per se thatís the buzz, or rather, playing with computers that brings the rush? I have an HP B9180 sitting behind me on the bench as I write; it is constantly plugged into the power system and occasionally makes its presence audibly known. It needs a new ink, a yellow, as it happens, and has been blinking its demand at me for weeks. I ignore it. I have come to the conclusion that printing pictures without a real, professionally driven market is a monumental waste of time, money and energy, frustration the only payback. For me, art or creativity is in the moment of the shutterís click and all that one does leading up to it. After that, it hardly matters. Ask the spirit of Winogrand if you donít believe me. If the love is for the cameras, be like the Japanese collectors and keep Ďem in their pretty, original box in a safe. You can bring them out now and again and have a thrill. The cameras, not the collectors.

Does that mean that I recommend travelling around without a camera and just making mental pictures? Not quite: thereís  something absolutely divine (for me) in the art of focussing (when I still can) and particularly with long lenses where the sense of depth in the change of planes is something magical, almost tangible. The camera is essential Ė itís the cool crystal glass cuddling your champagne.

Live for today? Not quite that, either. Do what you can that you want to do today, but certainly put off what you donít want to do and can avoid because, should your tomorrow not arrive, think of the pointless bother youíve saved yourself.

Photography seems really to be quite sharply divided between the mindsets of amateur and pro. The am. appears to want to have all the fancy gear he can or canít afford, whereas the relatively few pros that Iíve known would rather own the best but only as little as they actually need to buy. Equipment isnít the buzz. (But then itís difficult to express a definitive view on this, because pros come in many colours: thereís the guy who took up photography because he failed at everything else; thereís the guy who thought it would be a great way to make pots of dough; the chap over there thought it would raise his sex life whilst that other guy in the corner just did it because his Dad had the studio before him and it seemed safely obvious to follow on shooting babies, pets, passports and brides... and he probably sucked at school. Then thereís the other poor guy who just had no say: he couldnít change his mental spots and simply found that he had to live with photography or die.)

I find that I keep harking back to the old Terence Donovan quotation that, roughly, states that the greatest problem facing the amateur is finding a reason to make a photograph. Unspoken, of course, is that the pro never faces this because he always has a reason; he faces the flip side of the coin, the problem of finding the steady stream of customers. Unless he shoots stockÖ right.

Digital prints can seem an odd end to the creative process if, indeed it is even a part of it. Like myself, you might choose to hang a few of your own on your walls, you might even get the odd request from someone else. But, unless people want to buy what you produce, why produce? At the end of the day, actually selling an art print, a fashion shoot or even a calendar is the only validation youíre going to get: sweet words are cruelly inexpensive to offer and until somebody is willing to part with lots of their money in exchange for your product (which photography most certainly is) you have no external validation of what you are doing. Your own opinionís pretty worthless on that score; you even change your mind about your own stuff over time. If you canít stay convincedÖ

Reading about the lives of past greats seems to send mixed signals: on the one hand you find those who enjoyed the whole trip and, on the other, others who looked upon it as a sort of fiscal obligation, a kind of distraction from something else better, the photography but something from which they took nurture but didnít really value that much. As examples of the two types, Iíd quote Jean Loup Sieff as the former and HC-B might fit the shoes of the latter. I canít even remember HC-B ever calling his photography art, but then I donít think Sieff ever did either. Haskins knew he was an artist; the very idea of not being able to continue took him out. They were all just very, very good at it. Where do we, the rest, fit?

But returning to the relativity of time, itís true that a young person sees it as without limit whereas an older chap thinks of the accelerating speed with which it flees. In the case of youth thereís the temptation to postpone; for the old, thereís the temptation to say why bother when itís all too late to matter a damn.

But isnít that the nature of the life of man: si jeunesse savait et vieillesse pouvait?

Rob C
« Last Edit: December 13, 2012, 04:41:06 PM by Rob C » Logged

Tony Jay
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« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2012, 06:23:43 PM »
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Slightly off topic but welcome back Rob!

Tony Jay
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aduke
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« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2012, 07:58:46 PM »
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Slightly off topic but welcome back Rob!

Tony Jay

I agree, welcome back.

Alan
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2012, 11:20:17 PM »
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Indeed, welcome back, Rob. We've missed you.

Eric
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David Sutton
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« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2012, 12:50:50 AM »
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Off topic be damned.  Smiley  Nice to read your input again Rob.
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-Tom-
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« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2012, 01:05:46 PM »
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Rob, that was a really great reply to my thread...thanks.

If someone would ask me why I shoot, well I would say it's because I talk a lot. And I find it very interesting trying to come up with a photo or a movie that talks just as much as I do.

I'm often critical of my work, I despise it as soon as it gets uploaded online, but I do see progress in my work when I look back on my photos from 5 yrs ago.

Maybe the materialistic world around me puts pressure on me, maybe the fact that the camera I have and the car that I drive cost the same, but I need to stop thinking and start creating...

The things is, I'm aware that people who truly pursue their dreams get close to them. If you have a vision, no matter what that vision is, and you march towards it, eventually you'll get somewhere near. Some come closer than others, some need far less time than others, but that's just life. It would be pretty boring if we had it all too easy, right?
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kikashi
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« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2012, 01:29:59 PM »
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Indeed, welcome back, Rob. We've missed you.

Eric


Agreed. There was a lot of pent-up finger work waiting to be let out, I see.

Jeremy
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Rob C
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« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2012, 02:14:36 PM »
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Hi Folks, and thanks for the kind welcome.

I was almost out of the loop again just now because the system refused to accept my password. However, it now has, and let's see how long I stay visible. Well, in a manner of speaking, that is.

Pent up finger-work, Jeremy? Yes, but not exactly in the manner you obviously meant: I took advantage of time out to reorganize a lot of my transparency files... scanning selected ones had muddled them up, somewhat, and then on attempting to put them back in their proper sheets, I realised that I'd created fresh ones when I was sending a selection off to a new stock agency years ago. As a result, I discovered I had several Sheet 1s, Sheet 2s etc.... which was bloody which, was the question. I still don't really know, but have given up the struggle.

Anyway, I felt this was a pretty important and relevant thread, the substance of which probably cuts across most of our photographic lives at some time and certainly has mine. So I posted. Guess I must learn to be economical with words. But old dogs have problems with new tricks.

;-)

Rob C
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2012, 05:25:14 PM »
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Rob,

It sounds to me as if you've been using my own patented filing and organizational system, in which there must be multiple files with the same name (but with different content), and multiple files with distinct names (but identical content.)

It's a wonder I can ever find anything.   Sad

Eric
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Rob C
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« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2012, 03:02:22 AM »
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Rob,

It sounds to me as if you've been using my own patented filing and organizational system, in which there must be multiple files with the same name (but with different content), and multiple files with distinct names (but identical content.)

It's a wonder I can ever find anything.   Sad

Eric




How on Earth did you manage to know this?

Thereís a large (for me) register in which I have a numerical list of all the professionally shot/retained pictures since mid- í81. That runs, logically (again for me), from number 1 onwards. Stuff from years í66 to early í81 lives in another old register which is now a worn old tombstone to all my lost, destroyed or sold-off-to-clients original negs and trannies.

Thatís all fine and good, but the difficulty started when I tried to get the post í81 material sorted into some form of logically gathered sets; girls with girls, for example, and Mallorca with Mallorca. It seems so damned obvious. Difficulty started when it became a question of sorting girls in Mallorca from girls in the Bahamas, especially if the same girls. And that doesnít make it convenient when you are storing physical things. I often wondered how my old stock agency Tony Stone Worldwide managed to keep it all working so well - not only originals from 35mm upwards, but 4x5 dupes of selected ones too, all in their hundreds of thousands. And in different sub-offices/affiliates around the globe.

Thatís one area where a large hard drive and computers facilitate life: you can put the same shot so easily into so many different boxes! Nothing really exists until you need it to so do!

But, that ignores the value and blinding speed of the busy mind: when I was busy, I always knew exactly where everything was and my wife refused even to take a duster into the studio; wisely so, because anything hidden under the wrong piece of paper would have been her fault.

I still have an aversion to dusters, as a surprise visit to my place would reveal. But this may be temporary: someone told me that after the third or fourth year of dusting-free living, people can no longer tell the difference because the entire property assumes the look of purpose designÖ

Rob C


« Last Edit: December 15, 2012, 03:08:26 AM by Rob C » Logged

seamus finn
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« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2012, 05:38:57 AM »
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Rob - you're BACK! Whew, what a relief.
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Rob C
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« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2012, 03:58:17 PM »
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Rob - you're BACK! Whew, what a relief.



Flattery gets you everywhere; but you knew that!

;-)

Rob C
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