A.I.R. day 28
I’ve learned a lot about the way I make work in the past month+ abroad… out of not making the work I expected to make. I’ve had to let go of expectation and go with uncertainty (which goes entirely against my Taurus nature… my need for planning and clarity). As a true Taurus I spent months researching and contacting potential subjects to photograph in Germany long before I ever set foot on a plane. Many things seemed to line right up, others not at all. But the reality is after a month (half way through my residency) in Germany none of them have panned out (for many reasons.. some my own doing). I’m literally unable to crank out work in photoshop or work on a potential book in indesign because I only have my archaic laptop here with me and simply can’t. I’ve had to let go. A year ago, the letdown would have been tremendous. I know because of the pressure I put on myself while on a residency in the Summer of 2011.
But this residency is different. Instead of digital labs and facilities, I have a panoramic view of the Bavarian alps and the Starnberger See. There are language barriers and cultural differences. There are limitations. I am in the countryside. If I want groceries I walk 15-20 min to the only one in town. If I want coffee, I make some espresso on my stovetop. If I want art supplies or books or museums or antique stores or restaurants.. the train into Munich is an hour+ in each direction. But as strange as it may seem, I love all of it. I think we are often given too many options in life and it causes undo stress. I am left to my own devices here. If I stay in the countryside for the day- I drink coffee, I write, I read, I stretch, I go on walks, I take photos, I catch up on email… and lately I attempt to make laser print photo books. If I go into the city for the day, I walk endlessly and take in the sights.. I go to bakeries and cafes and visit museums and go to gallery openings. I go to antique stores / thrifts and dig through vintage photos and clothing racks. I consume. The countryside and city balance each other out. But a huge part of being able to enjoy it as I have been is to let go of the expectation that I am supposed to come away from this experience with a stack of prints or a new project under my belt. I’ve had to learn to just be satisfied in realizing how lucky I am to be granted this time and space to just be in my own skin.
A few side notes about traveling:
Turkey feels like it was a million years ago. What a fleeting moment. I want to return and soak it in more slowly. Everything about Turkey was warm and inviting.. the people, the landscape, the climate, the food…
Denmark was cold and rainy.. but I shot a lot of new work (exceeding any expectations I had) and would love to return in in sunnier months to make more work there. I felt I was always struggling to find light but still walked away with work.
Given my shoots fell through in Germany, I made a conscious decision to enjoy the rest of the time I’ve been granted in Europe and booked travel to Salzburg, Paris and London. Still hitting Iceland and NYC before getting home. Probably too many airports for my liking… but I figure I’ll catch up on rest in Portland. For now…