“After it’s finished, sometimes I can trace a path that goes back to the possible source of inspiration.”
– Tracy Chapman
I actively try to forget my original inspiration. This is so I don’t judge my work against it. Being a visual thinker with a vivid imagination I have to be careful that it doesn’t get in the way of making art. For me, I prefer a much more organic approach. One where letting go of the original inspiration sets me free to judge my work purely for what it is. I try. But I don’t always succeed.
I remember so much about taking this photograph. Even who was with me, Thea and Sandra. Where we were. We had left Luderitz that morning. I pulled our 4WD off the road in Namibia. I shot from the drivers seat. I was totally mesmerised by the depth enhanced by the wind blown sand. Depth is one of the secrets to capturing attention. This beautiful moonscape enchanted me.
So when I judge this photograph, am I judging the memories and my inspiration? Is it now just a vivid reminder of that moment in time and that place. If it is, then I really have to decide if I think it’s good because it reminds me so well or because it stands up on its own two feet. How do I let go of the reminder of the memories. I can’t. So judging its quality is always flawed for me.
I try so hard to be in the moment, enjoy the moment and to let go.
I will be back in Namibia in March this year with a very lucky small group of photographers. I say lucky as there is only a few of us. So we can be highly mobile and very responsive. If you want to join us you should book now before it’s too late.
Photograph and text copyright © Len Metcalf 2018