Last week, in a fit of what can only be described as “depression fueled Amazon.com retail therapy”, I bought a set of 48 Prismacolor colored pencils. I had a set at one point, left over from my theater days, and it disappeared in my move from Chicago to the NC; I’d just never gotten around to replacing it before. But last week, in a haze of upset and upheaval, I decided I was going to, and I did.
In the last couple of years, since I broke up with The Ex, I’ve done a lot of work both on myself and on my life. Working to be happier, and more productive, and improve my photography and pursue the things that I dream about. I like myself much more now than I did four years ago, though I’ll probably never like myself as much as I maybe should. I’m more stable emotionally than I was even six months ago, though I’ll never be the poster girl for emotional stability and I’ll always be a little more anxious and needy than I wish I was. But I’ve worked at it, and I’ve done hard and scary things, and I keep getting happier (mostly; I’m sad about a lot of things in the immediacy of now but happy in general).
The last two years in terms of my photography are a period I’ve talked about a lot. I did a lot of things that were hard for me in those two years, and most of them were technical things. I learned to write a can’t-lose pitch email, I pushed my technical boundaries with my camera, I networked and met people and worked the business side of it. It was necessary. It isn’t the fun part of photography — it isn’t making photos, which is always the best part, but it is a necessary part. Sometimes you have to do the boring things, the things you don’t love, to do the things you do love.
But I have done that stuff, and now I know how to do it, so it’s much easier than it used to be. And the back half of this year? It’s going to be about using those colored pencils. It’s going to be about pushing my creativity as far as it will go.
I have always been a compulsive notebook keeper; my notebooks are journals, but they’ve also been writer’s notebooks, and to-do lists, and scrapbooks, and commonplace books. I bought colored pencils so I can brainstorm better, so I can doodle, so I can work out color palettes for shoots and record memories. And I’m going to use those things to improve another area I need to get better, which is my art design of promo photo shoots. Y’all know I don’t love doing promo shoots, because I am not a very good art director; my brain just isn’t wired well to do that, to construct concepts wholesale from nothing. But I’m going to re-wire myself. I know I can shoot promo shots in a technical capacity, and now I want to get better at helping bands design the shots they want. I’m going to spend the rest of the year thinking in color instead of black and white. I’m going to start collecting costume pieces (well, maybe, if I can figure out how to store them; my kingdom for a house and an office!) for shoots, and if I come up with a great and sudden idea for a band’s new promo pictures, I’m going to try to trade photos for the chance to make vision happen.
Sometimes I sit at my desk and pick out a local band and try to dream up a great promo photo for them. A great promo photo looks like a band sounds. And that’s what I’m going to get better at.
Well, that and liking myself. But mostly I’m going to push my creativity as far as I can, and then farther.