It’s after work time. I’m in a chain coffee outlet. It’s been an interesting day, one of changes, frustrations on behalf of other people, a lot of humour and one remarkable and unintentional revelation from a very senior person. Of course, I can’t talk about any of this in detail because to do so would leave me open to criticism from those who pay my wages. In fact, I probably can’t even tell you that I can’t tell you. Even telling you that leaves me vulnerable.
So instead I’ll talk about the fact that for the first time in many years, I’ve entered a photography competition. For most of those years, I’ve strongly believed that photography is too important a means of escape from the pressures of life for me to risk losing that escape by adding the stress of having to make money or meeting other’s expectations. (That last sentence was brought to you by The Complex Sentence Company of Bakhtapur).
For years I’ve taken the photos I wanted to take, when I wanted to take them and for no reason other than I wanted to do it. In amongst them there have been occasions when I’ve done weddings and commissions but strictly on my own terms.
But yesterday I decided to take the plunge and enter the Amateur Photographer of the Year competition run by, surprisingly, Amateur Photographer magazine. I won’t win and that’s not me being modest. I entered a photo that came from my catalogue, not taken for the competition. I need to get into the mindset of competitions again, too. But it’s a start and another motivator for me.
I have already found that the 1-a-day project I started on January 1st has proved valuable on the days when I am tempted to sit on the sofa and do nothing. I find I am thinking of suitable subjects more often and a welcome by product is that I take more notice of my surroundings and circumstances. I carry a camera everywhere I go so I can always take a snapshot, even if it’s the visual equivalent of a post-it note for later evaluation and action.
It’s time for me to re-evaluate my approach to photography. Less reading, more doing. Looking back over the image files I have I find lots of waterfalls, which seem to be my default subject matter. Probably because they’re easy. So I have to find something else. It adds a bit of pressure, but that may not be a bad thing after all.
I would rather be with Rufus on a mountain right now!