Twenty nineteen ended weeks ago and it was a blazing fast year for me. A year in which the death of a loved one casted long shadows over my mood, my priorities and my work as well. It was a year in which I taught many workshops, made numerous new friends, wrote a few books and had very little time to take pictures just for me.
After one last book was finished just in time, I found myself quite unable to express anything worthwhile and I granted myself a few weeks of nothingness. Most of the time in these periods without "should do's", I find some kind of clarity and this then becomes the base on which I build in the time that follows. I felt I needed some clarity to redefine what is important to me in life. The demands of social media not matching my personality, caused me to reconsider what I did want to spend my time on.
For 2 weeks I filled my time with nothingness, but if you do nothing for long enough and you have switched off the phone and tv, you tend to turn to the things that are essential in your life. I turned back to the pictures of 2019 to take another look at what had happened. A few weeks earlier I had grouped a few favourite pictures in a folder and compared them to the pictures I chose as favourites of 2018 and I felt disappointed at first, quickly followed by a feeling of bewilderment, because something had changed and it had not been intentional.
The pictures of previous years being warm, colourful and inviting and those of 2019 being different. After having given it some time, I recognized a more introverted quality in most pictures. The colors more subdued, the contrast less pronounced and the moods more still, these pictures might not have been steered in this direction fully intentionally, but they were probably more self-expressive than ever before.
My background in design and art means that I am usually very intentional about what I want to create. The circumstances that I encountered in this past year were such that I was unable to plan, I had to just let go of any expectations and work with that. That was a shock to my system who loves things that are carefully considered and planned meticulously. The result of this was that at first I was quite unhappy with my work, as it had not turned out as planned. In fact nothing turned out as planned. This however lead to me taking pictures more intuitively and therefore these pictures were more about the real me than all the pictures I had ever taken before. They were no longer the crafted images of scenes that I had long visualized before they were ever made. They were pictures of my response in that moment to those scenes. They are reflections of who I am.
I am by no means giving up my analysis of my images, not about to let go of intentional photography, but I have learned that forcing your will unto something is not a prerequisite for self-expressive photography. There is the self that wants things to be a certain way and there is the quiet self underneath who will hardly show itself when suppressed by the self that wants everything to be perfect and according to plan.
The pictures show below are my favourites of twenty nineteen. They might not be what I had envisioned at the beginning of the year, they might not have met my ridiculously high standards, they might not be perfect, but they are at least "me". I can be happy with them knowing that they did indeed mark a step forward, I had just envisioned "forward" differently. My taste in photography changed in the past year, because I myself will not be the person I was in the years previous. My photography is catching up with those changes in taste and is slowly starting to reflect this.
My vision still unchanged...I am still looking for stillness in a world of wonder ©, but the way that I express this has changed. From the deep vibrant saturated colors, to the more subdued and slightly more introverted moods. The way that I translate this vision into pictures has changed and this for me is what is forever fascinating about being an artist.
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