Today I pressed an important button. I pressed it with elements of both trepidation and excitement as it meant that I was about to share something hitherto private with other people. Possibly a lot of other people. With you.
This is something of a journey into the unknown for me. All my life I have worked in the public service and now, aged fifty something, I am about to take another step on a journey which is as far removed from the public service as I could imagine. The button is the “Make Live” button for my photographic website.
Arriving at a point where I was ready to make my website 'live' has taken a lot of time; time that I have had to squeeze in between family, work, trying to keep fit etc. The day to day living of a life to which I’m sure you will all relate. On top of that I actually try to get outside and take some photographs, which is the reason for me doing this in the first place. The time has involved reading a variety of instructions and suggestions, choosing the images I want to place on the website and preparing them so that they look their best. I have squeezed in hours here and there, sometimes long after I should have gone to bed to be ready for work the following morning. I have put rainy days and long winter evenings to good use. It has been hard work, but proved to be a thoroughly rewarding experience.
I only started on my photographic journey a little over two years ago, with two strong desires; firstly, I wanted to take competent photographs of a big holiday to the USA and, secondly, I felt that I needed a creative outlet. I’d had fun taking pictures in the past, but that’s all it was - a bit of fun. I’d tried writing, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but struggled to find ideas. I’d tried music, but the terrors of piano lessons as a ten year old would never quite allow me to feel comfortable with that. So the trip to America acted as something of a catalyst to help me begin this creative journey. I wanted the skills to achieve strong desire number one and also acquired the route to achieve strong desire number two.
If you look at the USA section of my website, you will see that there are only nine images. From a six week holiday! This used to disappoint me greatly. In my naivety, I thought that I would bring home many more trophy shots of the great views of the American South West. There are certainly one or two of that type of image there, and I certainly photographed many more of them. The images I’m most proud of, however, are those that show a little of what I thought and felt about a place, not simply a copy of a thousand other photographs already taken by everybody else. But I hadn’t fully realised that then, as I do now, so only those nine images have ‘made it’ to the website.
Another limiting factor was the fact that I knew so little about how to take photographs and, more importantly to me, create meaningful, artistic images through the use of a camera and a computer. It has been a very steep learning curve, and one which shows little sign of easing off. As I moved towards setting up a website, a thousand and one new ideas would come to mind, each of them requiring a further exploration of the information available to discover the best way to achieve my goals. With this came the decisions required to prioritise. Should I learn how to print images before researching how to write a blog, or would my time be best spent learning about setting up a Facebook business page? I still don’t know most of the answers, but I’m excited by the prospect of finding out, of trying to make credible art about the ‘natural world’ by using a camera and of sharing them with other people. Possibly a lot of other people. With you.