Shooting objects close up.

My son was playing/working at the kitchen table the other rainy afternoon, and when he migrated elsewhere in the house (ok…the FLAT), my very independent daughter got a snack and sat down to read.  This freed up the objects that an 8 year old boy gathers and combines, and I was motivated enough visually to go grab my camera.  I am enthralled with little biographical snippets of life.  I am also having fun with things up close.  But the strange thing is that the minute I start photographing one of the objects, I am excited by the look, and at the same time, am hearing loud internal voices that are denigrating the images.  They are not polished enough…they are silly little record shots, if I put them up on my website people will think I am a hack without an ounce of self-knowledge, they’ve been done before, what is the point and so on and so forth.  Wow.

I immediately went from the fun of the moment, and the pretty result, to some place far down a road which practically puts out the fire.  I think this is one of those major struggles for me.  The bar for success is set so high, that I cannot explore by doing because the doing is interrupted so quickly.  It is not enough to explore.  It has to be ready for the gallery wall.  I think that pretty much dooms any chances of getting on the gallery wall.

I think this is one of the dilemmas for those of us with busy lives that don’t allow for enough shooting.  There is ALWAYS something that SHOULD be done, and I forget to use that camera.  I don’t carry it, I don’t set up enough shoots (digital is free…what is stopping me?), and I just don’t take enough photos.  Leaving the 8×10 sitting on the shelf is understandable at the moment (although I do love it, but probably for a bunch of the wrong reasons).  But this pressure (all from inside) to be “special” all the time, is quite destructive.  The most fun I have when shooting is when I play.  And the pictures are better when I play.  And play is fun.  So why not play more?

Good question.



  1. Like all the best artists, you torture yourself with the pursuit of perfection! And that’s what makes you such a fantastic artist. But remember that Van Gogh also went crazy! Play play play. It’s the only antidote…

  2. This is a universal problem for artists. I hope you know you are not alone. We constantly have to try to put that inner critic in the corner where it belongs and give ourselves permission to play.

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