Just Keep Swimming
Juliette asked me tonight how I was feeling. Honestly, I'm starting to feel like I'm floating again. I've reached a plateau with my photography where I'm not advancing commercially or artistically. My portrait bookings are sporadic, and while my clients have universally been happy with the photographs I make with them, I don't feel like I'm making much progress, if any, toward a self-sustaining life in photography. Nor do I have the time to dedicate toward building that business.
On the other hand, while I'm proud of how far I've come artistically with my personal work, I have very few outlets for that work and essentially no useful criticism. I've gotten a few photos into some curated groups on Flickr, but even though that was and is exciting, there's nothing there for me to build on, and no real feedback as to what's working and what's not, whether my rejects have shown potential or are just crap. The few critiques I've solicited have been generally positive--some overwhelmingly so--but while that's a nice ego boost it does nothing to help me grow as an artist.
And so, I feel adrift, directionless. I don't have the time or resources to pursue further training, and I don't have much in the way of an artistic community to bounce ideas off of and to give me feedback and criticism. I'm just continuing to do what I've been doing, but it feels more like I'm treading water than making any kind of forward progress.
I'm not really sure where to go from here, except that I know I don't want to give up. I know that when I look at pictures like the one above, it makes me happy--happy because of the moment in the picture and happy because I was able to make that image. That ought to be enough, but for whatever reason, it's not. So I suppose until I figure things out, there's nothing to do except take Dory's advice: just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.