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self-portrait

I feel like this post should start with “dear diary”… I have been working at a pretty crazy pace the last 2 years or so. I work every day, most days 12-15hrs. Whether it be shooting, editing, blogging, marketing, etc etc. I am always trying to be doing something that will improve my photography/business/network/contacts etc. Now… I think I may have finally hit a wall.

I have been feeling very un-motivated as of late and just can’t seem to get myself going. I recently returned from Atlantic Fashion Week and I know part of how I’m feeling is because I’m still recovering from editing close to 900 photos in 2 days. But why must we go through these times where we don’t feel motivated or focused? Sometimes do you just want to scream???

I’m going to get pretty honest here. I think everyone goes through these things, but we don’t always hear about them. People always want to display confidence and an air of success in this business. It’s all about who you’ve photographed lately, what jobs you’ve done, what you have coming up or projects your planning. You will rarely talk to a photographer who will tell you “I just haven’t been feeling it lately, I’m in a photo funk”. They will always talk themselves up, and I am no different. If you saw me after I published this blog post, I wouldn’t tell you I was in a funk, I would say that things are good. I would tell you about how Fashion Week went, etc etc. I do think that is the right way to handle things. I wouldn’t be negative about any of it, because in all honesty, I am very very happy (and lucky) to be doing what I love.

But, like I said before, I have hit a wall.

I have been struggling with my work as of late. I’m not unhappy with the work I have been putting out, but I just think I can do MUCH better. But I do go through phases where I hate all of it. I look at every frame from a shoot and wish I had done things better. It has nothing to do with the model, and has everything to do with me. I am extremely picky and no one is more critical of my work than I am. I pick it apart to no end, which I’m sure is a good thing sometimes, but sometimes it drives me insane.

I think I need to be more creative with things. I realize it is a process and I need to be patient. But I have come to realize that I am not a patient person whatsoever. I want things to happen NOW! Some of the shoots I do are to do lighting tests, or to try new ideas, and I realize those are necessary. Sometimes though those shoots feel like a waste of time, like I should be doing something more creative and more photographically exciting. I look back at shoots I did in the past and wonder why I didn’t do more with them. My work is starting to feel stale and I’m lacking inspiration. I see work that others do and inspires me to be better, but sometimes it’s hard to look at. You see great work being put out by other photographers, and you feel worse about your own work. Are you with me?

Here’s one for you… I do little to no marketing. My website, blog, facebook page, and other social media sites are my only form of advertising. Which has been great for me. But I want to do bigger things, I want to hit a much broader audience. Like I said, I’m not overly patient, so I’m looking at ways to get my work in the hands of people who can do that. People who can take my work to that next level. Do I need to move from where I live? Do I need to be sending my portfolio to a wider audience? Do I need to be knocking on more doors? Sending out more emails? Is my work strong enough for these bigger markets?….. welcome to my brain. It is a strange place, and it never stops.

iPhone photo of the print wall

You may have seen that I pinned over 200 photos onto the wall in my studio for a portfolio selection. I figured it would be easier to look at the images in print form. From these images I will select roughly 30-35 for my printed portfolio. Well… it was over 2 weeks ago that the photos went onto the wall, and they haven’t moved. I can’t seem to make progress with them. I look at them all and wonder if they’re good enough to be getting the type of work I want. I wonder if I should start fresh, do they work as a whole? Can I pair them with others? How will they all look together in a book? Honestly with this, I think I just need to take a day, turn off all the technology and just focus on selecting. But these are all thoughts that go through my head. Are you still with me?

I am constantly thinking about photography, and I mean all aspects of photography. To say I love photography may actually be a bit of an understatement. No matter what I’m doing, something photographic is on my mind. But that can be quite exhausting. Sometimes I think if I wasn’t so wrapped up in it, my work would actually become better. Maybe if I could get my mind away from photography, my work would grow in a different way. But how do I do that?

And then there’s this little bitch that drives me nuts… Time. That’s right Time… I said it. You make me feel like I have plenty of you and then next thing I know, I’ve run out of you. I have all these ideas, projects I want to do, but time seems to screw with me. “Here you go Denis, it’s only January, you’ll have plenty of time to do all the things you want”. Then… BAM… It’s Mid-June. Whoever’s idea it was to only have 24hrs in a day, show yourself! I need more time in the day. You’re with me on this one right?

I know everyone goes through this. I know we all struggle with creativity, motivation, and various other things. But it’s how we deal with these feelings and funks that push us forward and make us who we are. So I am planning to be more calculated with the work that I do. I need to make sure when I do a shoot that I am doing everything I can to push myself forward. I want to plan big things, little things aren’t doing it for me anymore.  Baby steps aren’t doing it for me anymore, I want to be taking big steps… I’m 6’7″… so long strides shouldn’t be an issue for me.

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