Closing the Loop

On work and practice.

I don't make New Year resolutions but the end of year break seems to be as good a time as any to reflect and to think about what I'd like to work on in the coming months. Specifically I've been thinking about how I go about what I do and how I can be more effective in doing it. 

Taking apart the term creative practice I'll consider both halves in order. Looking back at 2015 I find that i have a number of interesting projects going, I have ideas that I'm excited about and I'm curious enough to want to continue the pursuit. I have been shooting as the stack of negatives (and digital files) testifies. So far so good. However I know myself well enough to know that I'm very fond of keeping projects somewhere between 20-80% complete. Not completely vapor but still ripe with potential, still able to keep me happily busy pursuing leads and reaching dead ends free from the final nail and critical assessment that comes with being done. There are a couple of projects that I wish to see in a finished state by this time next year. I can visualize that, so it remains to move them there. Ideas, actions (in the form of taking photographs and recording sounds) words written, the creative half looks healthy enough.

How about the other word, practice? I like the sense of that word that describes what musicians do prior to performance. Few people are so gifted as to be able to perform at a high level without dedicated practice, and beyond that there are positive aspects that come only through repetition. There is a physical fluidity that comes from what's described sometimes as muscle memory, you just know where and how to move without having to think about it. There is confidence that comes from that and from a deepening insight into what the materials are capable of. Therein lies the catch within my own recent process. Insight and knowledge requires seeing the thing through every stage. For me that would mean from shooting or recording, to negative or file, to print or to screen to whatever the finished state should be. Then looping back through the process over and over again. I have plenty of practice in shooting and handling the camera, I earn my living shooting after all, but to get better I need to see finished prints and edited files, and I need to have others see that too. I need to close the loop. That is something I didn't do often enough in 2015. That is what I will endeavor to do this year. We'll see how it goes.