Apparently what I needed to break myself out of what felt like a massive shooting slump was a show shooting a band who I’m hoping to do some promo work for, and a band who used nothing but spinning, color-shifting lights in an otherwise dark room, which was a fascinating challenge.
For Christmas last year, my parentals gave me a copy of Every Day Is Saturday, a collection of the rock photography of Peter Ellenby. It was unquestionably the hit of the holidays, after the D60 of course which was the best gift ever, and I keep it on my desk, next to my copies of things like Elements of Style. When I’m feeling down about my shooting, frustrated within the limitations of lighting schemes at tiny bars and my own knowledge, I pull it out and flip through it, run my fingers over Ellenby’s blurry, motion-crazed film shots, and reassure myself that he shoots like I do, searching for that one pure moment in the middle of rock fury.
I can’t hold a candle to his talent — he does what he does mostly on a Holga, a cheap plastic toy camera known best for its sweet out of focus blur and its light leaks, and what I’d do with a Holga in concert venues is take a lot of underexposed shit — but it’s nice to know, when I’m loving the stuff that I’ve shot with a little bit of motion blur, or strange colors, or odd focus, that someone else sees that, too. Someone else looks for that, someone else shoots that.
In some ways that book makes me believe in myself more than anything else I do for my photography. In other ways I just believe in myself because some days I’m awesome. (That sounds like bragging on myself, but honestly, I have to tell myself that occasionally if only because holy crap, job hunting in this economy is depressing as all get out.)