Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Emptiness After the Accomplishment

SoFoBoMo is done for me. I had the book printed through Apple, and it should arrive on Tuesday the 16th. I'm proud of what I've accomplished but I'm left with what I can only describe as an emptiness. What's next? Where do I go now?

This was an extraordinary learning experience for me, one that stretched me in many areas, some outside of the photography domain. Within that domain however, I think I learned some basics of the craft of photography. I took lots of chances, one of the most significant for me being photographing exclusively in RAW at the airport in the final session. I learned some new image editing techniques, and learned how to edit a huge set of photos down to a viewable set. I began the project, ready to tell a story, and a modestly different story developed. It's not much different from when I've written short stories in prose; done right, for me anyway, the story takes some of its own direction if I let it.

I shared my project and photos at work. We work in air traffic control R&D, so on one hand it's a potentially receptive audience and on the other it's a tough one. I'll add that when I settled on the topic "Airport" for my project, I kept the people with whom I work in mind. Certainly I did this project for me, and I did it for the people involved in SoFoBoMo, but I also did it for the folks at work.

What's next? Where do I go now?

I have no illusions about who and what I am. There's a reason for the name of this blog being The Mathemagician. I love math, I love programming, I love problem solving, and I love aviation. I've kept current over the years and intend to remain employable until the time I reach retirement, which isn't that many years away.

Am I any good with a camera? Am I any good as a photographer? Do I tell a story through my photographs? Do any of them evoke reactions from people viewing them? Do they uplift? Do they celebrate life? Given my learning has been strictly through reading and spending time behind various cameras, my knowledge, skill, and experience are probably spotty, uneven. I've also spent time on some photography forums and frankly find them wanting. I wouldn't look for criticism on a piece of code from some random person on the 'Net. Why would I do that with a photo?

That's one part of the realism equation. Here's the other.

I was completely driven during SoFoBoMo 2009. I enjoyed it thoroughly. I worked to get the photographs I wanted. I worked to learn. For three weeks I had the time of my life. It's over now, and that's fine. Projects begin, projects end. Now I want to do more.

Over the coming months I'll make decisions on what I want to invest in photography, time being the primary fungible commodity. The most important investment however is me: How much of me do I want to invest in photography?

Decisions, decisions.

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