Same As The Old Year?
Resolutions? Not here…
A new year. It normally heralds all manner of things; a review of the last, a resolution for the next or more likely, surveying the damage to both liver and bank account in equal measure. If you’ve read any of my posts, you’ll have noticed that it all went a bit radio silent in the middle of last year which was mirrored in late summer as I dropped off social media quite a bit too. It wasn’t all a conscious decision, merely it seemed that I was posting pictures into a void and blogs had gone bland. The simple fact was, I was busy.
You’d think that would be a good thing although while it was, it was also a large element of going through a change. Not a lifestyle or mid-life crisis one, but a creative one. I’d started getting involved with a lot of ‘potential projects’ and that really had to stop. The kind of thing where you get involved in an idea which you give some input to and next thing you know, you’re knee deep in proposals and phone calls and zoom meetings and then you eventually get nothing out of it. These vanity projects are a fun sponge of extreme proportions, and I don’t mind admitting, they are no longer entertained.
It may sound a little cold or even mercenary, but to all new enquiries I only have one question I ask that must be answered; what is your budget?
All too often, the creative is the last person you involve in a project that might already be late, over budget and racing to get completed, and then you want to involve someone to help make it look good or ‘fix’ something. Sorry my friend, what you need is not a creative but a better project plan and manager and that is not me. So, in the middle of last year, I stopped. I took stock and listed all the people, projects and wasted time effort and ideas that had been spent on my part and with who. And I dropped them. Normally, I’d be quite quick to head to the keyboard with some form of outlet pitching my thoughts on them, the industry or whatever I felt needed a piece of my mind giving to it, but instead, I took a break.
Not from work, but just from bothering to share a negative experience or thought process or, worse still, an opinion.
I’ve seethed at some Twitter posts during the last year and felt myself begin to head for the keys with an opinion about something that, if I’m being 100% honest, doesn’t affect my life or work in the slightest. By removing myself from a lot of the noise, that I too had been guilty of generating, I’ve been able to focus on work, finding more of the right clients and more importantly, becoming happier.
Now, don’t fear, this isn’t a post that will go heading into how perfect my life is, believe me, there is actually no such thing (my opinion!) but you can learn to embrace life and the pleasure and pain it will give you. Even now, as I’m writing this, I’m on a flight to Lisbon to celebrate New Year with my wife. I could try and make it out to be amazing, or wonderful or show pictures of the blue sky out the window or the fact that we bagged a row of seats all to ourselves. But it is a happiness even though the plane is delayed, I have the mother of all cold sores on my bottom lip and my wife isn’t happy with her wardrobe choice. But the key thing I’ve learned in the last few months, is to find the happy, that chink of light that has the ability to make a crap day better.
And this point brings me back to work. I’ve begun working a lot more in different ways that include industry changes, film and video production and different photography genres. It has been far from plain sailing with some steep learning curves, bad ideas and executions and the occasional row, but it is about evolving and sharing.
I recently decided to begin posting to Instagram again but this time, in a long form post that is almost a mini-blog about the shoot. The challenge was to do 24 posts in 24 days and it has resulted in a few surprises. Firstly, the comments. Aside from the bots and requests to DM pictures to feeds, it has been quite lovely to chat again. Some new people, some old friends and mostly, just shared experiences. It hasn’t been about the algorithm but simply me posting in a way that I enjoyed. I think that both on the socials and at work, I’d forgotten a bit of that. I need to post for me. I need to shoot for me. I mentioned to a client a while back that instead of worrying about getting a seat at someone else’s table, you should set up your own table and let people come to you.
I guess I’ve finally got my own table.
Henry David Thoreau – “Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”