Fleeting Inspiration

A few weeks ago, Brooklyn Magazine hired me to help out with their “100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture” issue.  I was tasked with photographing 16 different movers and shakers in the film industry.  The brief was very straightforward, photograph everyone outside with a blurry background and from the waist up.   IMG_8462

It had been a while since I had shot.  Last summer I went through a period of photographing a ton, nearly every day I was working on making portraits.  It honestly felt prolific.   I couldn’t believe the amount of work I was producing.  I had a personal project going of photographing women with dyed hair and was also shooting friends and friends of friends and even random strangers on the street.  But what I didn’t expect was that the well would completely dry up.  I’m not sure why, but I just stopped shooting suddenly, as quickly as it came, the source of inspiration also left.  I had been hitting the ground hard to photograph as many people as possible and I think I simply hit a brick wall.  I burnt myself out.  I took a trip to California in the fall and I purposefully didn’t take my camera simply because I felt tired.  I didn’t want to do any shooting while out in CA.  It was the first time in a long time that I didn’t take my camera with me on a trip.  And admittedly, it felt nice to have the break.

Of course going through an extended period of little to no art creation if you are an artist is a bit daunting and you do start to wonder if your time with the craft is up.  Those thoughts did start to creep in to my mind at the beginning of the year after about 3 months of non-shooting time.  I worked on printing a new portfolio, but felt a bit lackluster in that endeavor.  I started exploring other mediums (particularly sewing and embroidery) and thinking of how else I’d like to express myself.  Then I got this email to do this Brooklyn Magazine project and I thought “Why not?  It’s straightforward and I’ll probably meet some cool people.”  So I did the job and a funny thing has happened.  I’ve started to get those tingle moments back of wanting to shoot.  I can feel it dancing around me… that desire to shoot more, create more.  I’m not sure where it is leading me, but I’m here with that feeling again, which feels good.

The Theme of this Blog

Having a blog is nerve-wracking, especially because I’d like to stay consistent with it.   I keep thinking, “What do I write about??”  I feel there are so many different directions I could go.  Maybe my blog should have a specific theme or topic, but what… my life as a freelancer?  my life in NYC?  my life as a single woman?  my thoughts on politics/gender equality/whatever current event is floating in the moment?  Obviously, I could go in many different directions.  What I keep circling back to is that it’s best to just write what I know… my life.  I was listening to a podcast recently of a very successful blogger who used her blog to launch a million dollar business in branding education.  She mentioned how much she loved blogging, but at one point deleted all her blog posts to focus down on her business.  I totally get this idea, but it made me cringe.  I don’t want to get to a point where I decide to delete my posts.  If I’m gonna write about my life, I want to be all in.  Maybe I’ll evolve and become more specific with my topics, but I want the journey of this writing to always be available to me (and others) to see.  Maybe I’ll change my mind about whatever I write about and that’s okay.  This blog is a process for me of getting my thoughts and ideas out into the world as clearly as possible.  Also, since I keep feeling the urge to post, I want to honor that by simply writing and seeing where that journey goes.

Where It All Started

I have been thinking about starting a blog for such a LONG time, but I’ve been so fearful of doing it.  A part of me wonders if I have much to say.  I know that is not true, I have a lot to say actually.  I know this because when it comes to writing, I could literally write for hours, but it took me many years to realize this about myself.

I remember when I was in grade school, a friend of mine, Lindsey, gave me a beautiful journal.  It was hard bound, glossy, with a decorative maroon, marble patter on the front.  When closed, the pages had a gold trim and the word “Journal” was etched in gold on the spine.  I LOVED that journal.  I loved the possibility of the blank page.  BUT, I could never figure out what I wanted to write about!  It felt so silly to write about school drama, plus I was scared my older brother would get to it and make fun of it.  I would write, cross stuff out, and rip out pages.  It would be years later before I could start to really write in a journal.

My dad gave me a journal when I was in my mid-twenties.  At the time, I was studying for my MFA in photography.  My dad wrote an inscription saying he felt that the journal could be a good place to write about my photography.  I did write in it for a time about my photography, but also about current boyfriend troubles as well.  This journal was red with a gold star imprinted on its spine.  I would write on and off in it for several months, but eventually the habit stopped.

It wasn’t until I moved to NYC that I really picked up journal writing as a habit.  I can’t even remember what prompted me to start writing, but I did.  And I wrote, and wrote, and wrote.  I would literally go to my favorite cafe, The Hungarian Pastry Shop, and write for two hours every morning.  I filled up my red journal, and then a blue journal, black journal, pink journal, and a journal with a garden design in the course of three years.  Some of what I wrote was very repetitive… my stress and concern regarding my career, my dating life, my friends, everything.  Every thought, every worry I had starting from age 30 is recorded.

So writing is now very much a habit and form of therapy for me.  I decided to start writing a blog as a more public way to express this obsession of mine.  Also, hopefully it will offer some more structure.  In my private journals I tend to write my thoughts without any clear order.  In this blog, I am hoping to work more with some kind of an outline, hopefully to even write engaging stories and prose.  So here is my first entry!  I’m hitting publish before I even have a chance to think it twice (spelling mistakes, grammatical mistakes, typos be damned!  At least for this first entry!).