Unfortunately, I hate the word ‘blog’. I hate its sound, I hate its childishness, I hate its round smugness on the page. I hate how self-important it seems, how much naffer it sounds than its predecessors ‘book’, ‘novel’, ‘document’, ‘record’, even ‘diary’, ‘diary’ which reads like the name of a goddess next to the mono-syllabic infant word ‘blog’. But enough griping. If there’s anything I’ve learnt this year in a wide and sweeping way it’s that griping changes nothing and gets you nowhere but very drunk and further backward. Unfortunately, as with a lot of things, I fear I may have allowed this petty dislike to put me off any kind of public online writing all the way until now, the tender age of twenty-three.*
But I guess there is more to it than serious taxonomic aversions - blogs demand regular update, often a slither of positivity** and in photographic situations concrete evidence of ambition and practice. At the same time for these kinds of endeavours to have any meaning I believe they also require honesty. And if I’m being honest this last year, my first year since graduating with a First Class BA (Hons) in Photography & Film, has seen the first period of my life scarily absent of these qualities. It has genuinely been very difficult to maintain creative momentum, to feel confident and fearless and proactive, and to deny that or even sweep it under the world-wide-web-carpet would be deceitful. But as ambition returns and the will to communicate returns so does the wish to record.
So it comes to this Friday night, a bottle of white wine, a baked potato and the crazy notion that if this isn’t the right time then there isn’t one at all. I feel as if I have tried so hard in the early days of my ‘photographic career’ (and honestly the phrase sets me on edge) to project professionalism into my work and my ‘online presence’ that it has only done harm and damaged my sense of self and creative autonomy. Why did I pursue photography in the first place? It wasn’t to get commissions. It wasn’t to make money. And it wasn’t to look like a phoney freelancer on a website I pay for and nobody cares about.
So if this seems too personal and too rambling and not in any way focused on my ‘career’ and my ‘practice’ then I apologise - but I still work 40-70 hours a week in customer-service based positions, I don’t get enough sleep and I’m currently in the habit of watching ‘coming of age’ films and wondering why the thought of actually owning a car seems like the far-away, ridiculous notions of someone twenty years older than me. I guess I’m frustrated with the way things have turned out. If you haven’t worked for 50 hours with the general public than you’re fortunate, and you don’t understand how physically and spiritually draining it is. It’s exhausting. I have ideas of what I can do and what I should do and how hard I should work and how many emails I should send and how much exposure is good exposure and how much rent is too much rent but it’s difficult to keep this up when all you want to do is go for a run and crawl into bed.
And so here is my blog. Written with a desire to connect with people, with myself and with my work. A strangely public digital planner to outline and organise. Written as a record of what I’ve been up to, and because I want this to be more personal that a short tweet or a business card: how I’ve been feeling. Already I can see that my earlier statement to not start griping has descended into almost a 100% full-scale whinge. But this is the beginning! And the beginning of anything is never perfect.
I shall update again soon with what I’ve been up to lately, leaving out all of the sandwiches I’ve made for business peoples’ lunches and the coffees I have served to students and travellers and regulars and of course myself, because these anecdotes are not entirely what this space is for. If at any point during this blog’s existence, during reading my musings, you have something to say, a response of any kind whatsoever, do please comment, or email, or something - for isn’t it a wonderful notion to try and make the word wide web that little bit smaller? To reach across the empty space into which we fling things day in and day out and actually directly connect with what someone is thinking? Please be in touch.
I guess that’s all for now. I’ll try and update with some real ~photographic~ news soon.
*I guess it is worth noting that it works backwards too - words like chunk and merlot so drippingly gorgeous I am left no choice but to love wine and cheese and chocolate. And what about the poly-syllabic joys of words such as encyclopedia and other-worldliness?
** Format, or perhaps Google Chrome, has set the dreaded red squiggly under the word positivity. There it goes again. It is questioning positivity. How many times do you wish me to re-read this word Google and ponder whether I have made up the very notion of optimism? It is correctly spelled, it is a real thing I swear. Positivity. Why must you worry me so? Red squiggly or not, I’m keeping it in. You can’t stop me.