Response to Letter to Self

Now I am approaching the end of my first year I have allowed myself to consider the past years events and what how I have progressed. I look over the letter I wrote to myself a year ago and contemplate the points I set out for myself and whether I have achieved them. Reading what I wrote many months ago is like reading a strangers thoughts. I had admitted I was being narrow minded on where I stand within the realm of photography, but having broadened my interests vastly in comparison to my old self I realise that to have called myself narrow minded is an understatement.

I wanted to expand my knowledge and possibilities I could venture into, determined not to be stuck in my old mind frame of becoming a portrait photographer. Now I am not even sure how to define what it was I meant by ‘portrait photographer’. I think now that it was a cover up for not knowing what I wanted to do and that still may be the case but I have explored so much this past year, realised my interests and where I could go.

There have been several pivotal moments at my time in university that have changed my understanding of photography. Matt Mahurin’s hauntingly unique vision of the world taught me that I need to start harnessing the unique vision I have of the world and how I choose to represent it. Danny Lyon’s book ‘The Bikeriders’ opened my eyes to the world of photography books and the importance of seeing a body of work in its entirety, taking one of his photographs of The Bikeriders out of context looses its power in the story he is telling. More recently this idea of a photographer as a storyteller has really hit home after a guest talk from magnum photographer Olivia Arthur spoke on the topic and shared her stories as she traveled along the borders of Europe and Asia.

At the moment I both surprise myself and am slightly disappointed with myself at the same time. I am surprised at how much I have widened my interests and skills within photography, yet I am disappointed at the lack of experience in the field I have. I feel my knowledge has increased yet my career is not progressing at all and maybe I am being hard on myself as I am only in my first year but I need to be hard on myself to motivate me. I feel that in terms of work experience I could be doing so much more as at the moment it is not so much different than a year ago.

I am happy with how far I have progressed at the moment but like I said last year I would be terrified to realise I could not advance any more, but I am comfortable knowing there is so much more to explore and advance into.

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