Sitting here looking at my FB feed and thinking, some photographers just can’t show reality and others can’t step back from the real thing and dive into creative fantasy.
Some call it “keeping their own style”, others admit that it is a question of marketability and they have no intention of daring outside the box. Others go where life takes them, following the flow, making no choices.
Just like it has happened in my personal life, I feel more balanced if I try new things, if I dare outside the box, if I learn from new points of view, if I explore concepts. I am always searching for something new. I get bored easily, for lack of stimuli 😉
There were a couple of moments in my life where I felt really fed up of shooting horses (and their people), I felt like I had no motivation anymore, I was getting bored to death trying to deliver what people wanted, going after their cliché view of horse photography. I am allergic to stereotypes. I got anaphylaxis. Serious condition. 😉
For a couple of weeks I decided to do just macro photography and watch my tiny models with new eyes, their fragile wings, their spectacular skills, their short but active lives.
I often found myself thinking about how unfair it was that I was stepping every day on so many potential models. I learned to find beauty on ants eggs and spider’s broken webs in the early morning dew.
I love the early morning, all about it.
Macro photography detoxed me, it was a great cure. Not that I loved it enough to keep shooting tiny models and abandon horse photography, though.
So I went back to horse photography. Luckily I never got stuck on the “just backlit” story, or just silhouette or just details with bookeh in the background. I would’ve felt trapped, labeled, and sorry for not trying to climb out of the marketability option of photography.
Then I started traveling more often, and learning about horses in other countries, different cultures, different lifestyles. New ways of thinking. I started enjoying the joy of shooting whatever happened and the way it happened, street scenes or the dynamics of herds of horses, or horses walking on their way to the market while the riders led cows or camels, and you know, it is all related, all part of the same photographic universale frame, and the best thing is that I didn’t need to move a finger to make it happen, the Universe showed all that for me to shoot, when the light was more convenient and when I was ready for it.
To be ready and out there is important, because good situations happen, but you need to be out of bed, and ready and organized, to be able shoot. Photography is not for lazy people, even if they have talent and great equipment.
I believe that finally now I feel in complete harmony when I shoot. For me it is not anymore about a horse or a breed or a champion, now it is about horses under different skies, enjoying a different quality of light for every country I visit, different environments and architecture. Now I feel that photos tell stories, stories of nations and stories of times. Stories of people through their animals.
I have also learned to enjoy the moment I live, when I am there, while I am shooting, while I sit under a tree checking the focus, when I go to bed at night listening to the local music, or when I chat after dinner with my friends who travel with me. I feel happy and blessed there and then, not two years later when I think back about those moments.
Just like the horses do, I am enjoying more and more the present moment. The present is a gift, in more than one way.
I am also getting awareness of not taking anything for granted, not even the future. Carpe Diem, my friends!