a sense of belonging
People like to analyse, label and group things together. I think it’s a thing that helps us make sense of the hugeness that is the world around us. We also like to find other people that like the stuff we like, and spend time with them, talking about that stuff. The internet makes it even easier to find those people that are also into the obscure stuff we’re into, so it’s almost an expectation these days that whatever you like, you don’t need to like it alone.
I see these groups of people that are into the same stuff, and I interact with them where my interests cross over with theirs. But it feels like I’m only dipping a toe into each group, and I don’t really belong anywhere. I enjoy getting all misty eyed over the odd fast prime lens or high iso full frame sensor with the gear heads, or indulging in some girly pastel split-toned butter smooth bokeh eye candy shots, or trying to get beyond the superficial and talking about the real art behind what we do. But I get bored of the technical, sickened of the sweet and bogged down in the whys and wherefores, and I suppose that’s why I don’t commit completely to any of those groups.
But isn’t that what makes me an individual? The same as having gone through those fashions in processing – the heavy contrast highly saturated, the vignettes, the gaussian glow, the desaturation with heavy shadows, and now we’re into split tone with low contrast and blown highlights – and each one I try on, like an outfit, and as the fashion passes I keep a bit of it that feels right to me. Over time those bits that I’ve kept mix together and make what I think of as my own style of processing, and I suspect that process itself is going to continue to a certain extent, whether I become more settled and try each new thing less, there’s still an evolution of style in there. So why is it that I want to belong to one group, rather than being happy with doing the same thing there?
I suppose it’s got something to do with the fact that when you want to progress in something, you look to someone who is further down the line to give you an idea of where you have to go, what you have to do to get there. I know, nobody is going to be groundbreaking using that approach, but I never set out to be groundbreaking. I always figured I was following in someone’s footsteps. But what happens when those footsteps all diverge in different directions and you want to combine bits of all those paths, to make your own?
I’ve gone through various stages where I’ve had an urge to get my work up on a wall somewhere, and I’m feeling it again. But I’m getting lots of contradictions between the type of work that I do, and what gets hung on walls. For one group it’s too arty, for another it’s too dark, for another it’s too pretty… when the gatekeepers are people who fit neatly into one of the boxes, what happens when you don’t, but you want the same result? Do you have to put on their team shirt to play that game? Do you have to sell your soul and walk the walk and talk the talk for the sake of being allowed in to their realm? I suspect I’m mixing metaphors now, I’m tired. But I think I’m making sense.
But, as per usual, all I have for you is questions, not answers…