When I moved into this house I said I would use my garage as my new studio. But two years later, I just haven’t done it. There have been a variety of reasons why. Time commitments. Lack of available space. Lack of creative urge. Lack of confidence.
A few months ago, a friend asked me point blank why I wasn’t shooting and I opened my mouth to respond and before I had said much he interrupted and said “BLAH BLAH BLAH! Just pick up the fucking camera and do something.” I was ashamed to see how completely confronted I was by this and went and tried to make the garage work again, getting absolutely no where. There were still too many negative thoughts swirling and too many distractions.
Then more recently, a newer friend asked me the same thing but in a more pointed way that challenged me differently. We talked about it for a while and I realized I was being overwhelmed with the volume of work to make the studio happen instead of looking at individual tasks that can be easily tackled to get to the goal.
This afternoon I went down and tackled one of those tasks and before I knew it, I had tackled four and then suddenly I had a space to shoot with a flat surface and access to natural light. Soon, I was shooting again and doing my happy dance when I know I’ve done something good.
There’s still work to be done to make it a fully functioning studio. There’s still the issue that it’s just a garage and there’s a distinct lack of security or privacy. My desire to do more sexually oriented images may wait for a while. But for now, I’m shooting on a table again and that has made me very happy.
Told my boyfriend I needed a night on my own. It happens. The world gets into my head and I need to find a way to get it out. Throwing myself into the teeming crowd at happy hour was not sounding appealing. Besides, there was that cover of Savuer magazine I saw at the dentist office when I was getting a new crown attached this week (more on that later). It had immediately struck me and I said to myself “I could try that.”
So I left the office and stopped off at TAP Plastics and picked up a sheet of plastic I thought would do the job. 90 minutes later I was happily puttering in the garage with some very thinly sliced lemons and oranges being photographed and my figuring out how to solve technical issues.
It was exactly what I needed. Before I knew it I had pulled more food to be shot. There will be a similar shoot soon to explore other forms of shadow and light and story telling with this technique. It’s a first shout out of the gate with this method, but I’m quite pleased with my results. It gives me a place to push myself and gives me a direction to focus my energy.
Life is a big ball of stress at the moment. I’m handling things as best I can. Today I retreated to my back yard for some sun.
I’m grateful that the house next door is currently unoccupied. That means I can pick fruit from the trees in their yard that hang over into mine. Bowls full of lemons and blood oranges. The blood oranges are weighing down the three to such a degree that soon I’ll have bowls and blowls of them too. I haven’t decided what to do with these yet, but give me time. The down side is that they are working on the apartments and soon people living there may have something to say about my pilfering. For now, I’m grateful for the bounty.
It really hadn’t sunk in how much I resented losing my previous living situation until someone recently asked me why I wasn’t posting about food and why I wasn’t’ presenting any photography. I partly lied and said I wasn’t feeling creative and I was too busy looking for full time work.
The truth is I missed, and still do for that matter, my old apartment on Pierce St. The 14-foot west facing windows in the dining room had been my primary light source for several years. I developed my skills there and I was struggling in my new home to replicate them. Besides that, my kitchen was smaller, darker and less conducive to spur of the moment food photography.
When my friends and I agreed to move in here, there was an agreement that the garage would become my studio. That was delayed at first as we tried to merge two households into one and purge things we didn’t need any more. Storing our stuff became a creative process that took precedence over taking pictures.
Sure, I could have wandered around my new neighborhood and thrown myself into documenting that (and I still should), but losing the previous space had left me feeling really put out. I resented losing it and more so felt like there was no point in trying. I wasn’t clear exactly how angry I was until I found myself seething about it after a few innocent questions. Something was clearly wrong. As I found myself languishing in bed one day with no sense of creativity and a looming sense of failure, I realized that the only thing standing in my way of getting the studio going in the garage was me.
I went down that day and started moving things around. I realized that I had been sulking and mourning the loss of a good space and was letting that stop me. If I was going to be happy here at all, I needed to adapt and relearn and recreate There’s still more stuff to get rid of, or at least organize better. Yet after an hour of dealing with it head on, all of a sudden I could see space where a paper seamless back drop could go and I could see where I could use some natural light from the back door and I could see where I could get power for my lights.
Today I went down and did some quick and dirty self-portraits. Nothing ground breaking but it was exciting and invigorating to dig out all the equipment and make it work together and begin thinking about process again. I’m not where I was, but I may be on my way to somewhere new.