one time, when i was in college, we had an ice storm that hit in the morning with a lot more intensity than was anticipated. everything on campus went from being dry and clear to covered in a thin sheet of ice in the span of about 15 minutes. because it came on so quickly, the university didn't have an opportunity to close, and though many individual professors emailed their students at the last minute to cancel, whoever it was that was giving an exam at my 8 am class that day did not. so, being the diligent student that i was (and by "diligent", what i really mean is "too stubborn and proud to let myself do poorly"), i put on my college uniform (baggy sweatpants with knock-off uggs and a poofy coat) and started walking to class. i managed to make it safely past my apartment building and across the parking lot, but when i got to the ramp that led towards campus, things started to get a little dicey. the entire ramp and the rail alongside it were coated in ice, making it almost impossible to walk up, and so after getting about halfway up the ramp, i started to slide backwards back down. i was torn between not wanting to fall but not wanting to end up all the way back at the bottom, and so i was stuck trying to maintain my balance while stopping myself from sliding.
right now, i feel like my photography is stuck on the middle of an ice-covered ramp and that i've started slowly sliding backwards towards the bottom. it's a frustrating and confusing place to be, and i find myself scrambling to gracefully maintain my balance. i want to keep moving forward, but first i need to figure out a way to just stay on my feet without losing anymore ground or falling flat on my face.
in the interest of keeping things positive, i've decided to make a list of the reasons i started pursuing photography in the first place so that i can re-focus on what matters and try to melt the proverbial ice on the ramp.
reason 1: i want to be able to document our lives as they are right now in a way that is authentic and beautiful.
reason 2: i need a creative outlet so i don't lose my mind.
that's it. those are the only reasons why i started doing this. i've created other goals along the way that i'm now working towards, but those two things are at the core of all of it, and as long as those are being fulfilled, i need to allow myself to recognize what i'm accomplishing. the problem is, with social media and the public nature of this project i've undertaken, it's really (really) hard not to get caught up in the more superficial aspects of it all. for example: comparing my work to the work of others; the number of likes my page has; the number of likes my posts get; comparing the number of likes i get to the number of likes others get; getting my images featured on popular hubs; etc etc. all those things have the potential to make me feel really awesome, but they also have the potential to make me feel like junk and make me question why i'm even bothering to keep trudging ahead. but here's the thing i keep reminding myself of- those things aren't on my list of reasons for doing this. i can look at them as nice bonuses or potential pitfalls, but they're not reasons to keep going or give up.
so, i'm going to keep taking pictures until i regain traction on the ramp. i'll wait for the ice to melt (which might literally take until actual spring arrives because this cold weather is draining me), but i'm not going to let the backslide stop me. it's a part of the process, like so many other things. the photos i took today didn't get me any further up the photography ramp, but they fulfill the reasons outlined above, and so they are well worth the time and effort that i put into them.
i love the sense of purpose in this image. i hate all the distraction in the background, but the expression on his little face pulled me in enough to make me want to keep it. for kicks, i did this one in b/w and color. feel free to share with me your preference :)