Monday, 3 January 2011

What will 2011 bring?

Happy New Year to you all!!! 

Today I'm catching my breath after a houseful all Christmas and New Year. I know they're easy to break, but I do find making resolutions at the beginning of each year a useful thing to do. Perhaps less a resolution as a target or goal for the year.  I was pleased to say farewell to 2010, more because it was the year I lost Mum than it being a particularly bad year in its entirety.  In terms of my progress with photography in 2010:

- February, pass my APEL for three level one courses
- Officially start Social Documentary March, actually start in May
- Finish assignment one in July
- Finish assignment three in September
- Start Street Photography Now in September
- Purchase large format camera in October
- Attend one day large format camera workshop in November
- Father Christmas brings a rather sexy Apple Mac 27"

Okay but I am fairly disillusioned with my progress. These bullet points conceal the hours of reading, researching, pouring over blogs and websites, none of which is culminating in 'better' photos IMO! It also doesn't show the internal struggles to do well and the relatively short-lived satisfaction from each image I make. Photography and the study thereof provides me with an extremely satisfying occupation. But, and it is quite a big but, it does bring with it equally large measures of frustration and disappointment. I feel my skills have broadened but not increased. I know it is of my own making. I have higher aspirations than I currently have skill or aptitude and there is a large arguably growing gap between the two.  The steps I chose to take in 2010 firstly with the course selection and also in purchasing a large format camera mean I feel I am starting from scratch.  I have also begun to forget what it is I hoped to derive from the course.   

I have decided I am 'trying too hard' (which is never a good look!). So for that reason I am going to try to alter my approach a little, perhaps pursue another creative outlet too, take the pressure off myself a little. 

So my photography targets/goals or resolutions for 2011 are as follows:

- complete the social documentary course by July and go for assessment in November
- continue with the street photography now project until September
- fully get to grips with the large format camera by July
- source an old medium format camera
- familiarise myself with mac, photoshop and printing
- start another level two or possibly level three course in September
- have a clearer sense of direction as to what type of photography I want to pursue by December

So let's see what is ahead!!


  1. Oh the 27" iMac is lovely, isn't it...! Had one for a while now - I love it, although maybe the screen is a little too large sometimes.

    I bought an old (42 years old) Hasselblad of eBay for a good price. I still don't use it enough though. Been trawling for a digital back recently.

    All the best


  2. Penny, I sympathise with you and in all but a few cases I think you have summed up how most of us feel about our photography. Photography is too technical and the choices are too vast and I am finding that a distraction. Your list for 2011 is awesome, good luck and like you I am hoping for a happier year.

  3. Thanks Rob and Nigel.

    Do iMacs need virus protection? I heard they were nigh on virus free. The medium format camera is fanciful really, I've got quite enough on but increasingly I'm doubting the clarity of my digital. I could do with a slightly cheaper year photography-wise so may just stay put!! Too right Nigel, technical is an understatement!!!

    Wishing you both a snappy new year!!

  4. Hey there - Happy Nu Year Penny. I like the look of your new year - just remember, photography shouldn't be stressful though. Although I believe in pushing one's limits creatively, photography shouldn't become a chore or an artistic medium that is dictated by the technicalities of the equipment. Something my students at the old Workington Art College used to get bogged down with.

    I've been re-evaluating the things I need to concentrate on in 2011 as work and cancer have taken up far too much of my energy during the past coule of years. Firstly, I need to get my motorbike back on the road without a doubt but I also need to rediscover and refocus my creative leanings.

    My writing is coming along nicely and I'm more than happy with my blog. One of my readers has invited me to collaborate with him on a new book project too, what a result. My wife has bought me some brand new pencils and sketch books for Christmas and says she is expecting some masterpieces by the end of this year and my Mum bought me the Street Photography Now book, which has led to a much better understanding of the genre. I'm not too worried about submitting a photo every week, but I will be taking lots more photographs this year.

    As for resolutions, I stopped drinking last year on doctors advice and have now been "dry" for 12 months and I haven't had a ciggy since August 8th. All I need to do now is conquer my fear of Photoshop and learn how to use it - any suggestions on a good course for a luddite?

  5. Penny - I bought anti-virus when Apple recommended it a couple of years ago. They then said it wasn't necessary, so I didn't renew. Touch wood, I've never had any problems...

  6. Happy New Year Adey. My word, your halo is shining brightly - that is some year ahead. Quit smoking and drinking, book deal and a budding artist and photographer not to mention the art of motorcycle maintenance (wasn't that the name of a book?!) - sounds like you've got your priorities well and truly in order - good on yer! Sounds like you could do with a good year.

    Cancer is just a pile of sh*t and I really feel for you and your family. I am no expert at all and don't want to misinform but on my many searches I found the Gerson approach food for thought - may not be relevant for you but it does offer a preventative approach - too late for my mum but we're juicing most days now.

    With regards Photoshop, I've been using PS Elements and have just installed its big brother for Christmas, so it is sort of familiar but not if you know what I mean. From the little I know of you and it, I suspect even this luddite will pick it up fairly quickly!

    I hope the new year brings you much health and happiness and I will be keeping tabs on that halo of yours!!

  7. Thanks Rob that's good to know!

  8. Totally off topic here but there's one thing about Gerson therapy that puts me off - Coffee enemas!! There is an interesting theory behind it though. My wife is an RMN (Registered Mental Nurse)and prefers not to adminster medication when alternative therapies can be used. She is also a great believer in de-stressing and detoxifying and has done research into the " up of stress and emotions as a trigger for serious illness"!

    I had a very sympathetic and empathetic specialist who told me that an occasional hand rolled cigarette probably did me no harm, but it is the chemicals, additives and preservatives within boxed cigarettes, mass produced alcohol and processed foods that are the catalyst for many cancers.

    Here's to a fine year ahead Penny and to quote someone not too far away - "From the little I know of you..." I'm sure you'll surpass your goals with ease

  9. Interesting discussion and I whole-heartedly agree - when you start looking in to it, we are quite literally poisoning ourselves. Dairy particularly milk, red meat, even tap water are effecting our health - it is very worrying. The enemas don't appeal either, but as you say, the detoxing, organic eating and the philosophy behind it may hinder the development of serious illness. I also heard about keeping the body alkaline and checking out the PH balance of food. It may or may not help but it gives you back a little control imo.

    I suppose the bad bits in life build character and strength!! Anyway, thanks for the vote of confidence Ade!

  10. I'm a bit late in catching up with this one Penny, but Happy New Year anyway. I think you achieved a lot in 2010. The fact that you feel you haven't possibly isn't a reflection of your photography alone, but also the other things that have been happening in the year. Mourning for someone close to you can take a long time, much longer than we expect these days. When you're tired and stressed it can be difficult to settle at things and really get into your stride.

    I think your 'taking the pressure off' approach is just right, though you have a fair number of goals pencilled in for next year. I look forward to seeing what you make of the year ahead.

  11. "none of which is culminating in 'better' photos IMO"

    Thing is Penny it maybe that your assessment is changing just as rapidly as your work

    This is the well documented 'Dammit, I suck' phase - seediagram

  12. Ha, what a very clever diagram - can retrace my own steps through that pretty clearly too. Thanks Gareth, definitely in the 'I suck' stage. Least I'm not going backwards!! Think this is a really useful graph for photography students to see as it shows progression in a linear developing way whereas it often feels like you're firing in all directions. Good to know it's all part of the learning curve.