It’s not something I expected to happen. It’s something that, for most, is a rather constant element of their life. Sure, it evolves and those early teenage years are awkward for boys, but it isn’t something we have to hunt for. We don’t usually wake up one morning and go hmm…where has my voice gone? I think I need to find it.
For my physical voice there is a simple solution. Go to the doctors, make sure everything is in order, and rest. The lack of a physical voice these past few days, and the necessity to write that on dozens of sticky notes to let others know got me thinking about my other voice. My artistic voice. That is something that isn’t as clearly defined.
I have to question, is there even an artistic voice that I have lost? Have I even found my voice yet? The short answer, maybe.
I’ve done a bit of it all, save the date, weddings, senior portraits, site photos, christmas cards, massive stitched panoramas (because PIXELS!), HDR landscapes, and cityscapes. I think that hits the lot of them. So, throughout all that, can I say that I’ve found my voice? Again, maybe. I have certainly found the beginnings of a voice. Since I’m sticking with the vocal metaphor, I’ll say that I’ve made my first sounds. I am by no means speaking at a post-graduate level yet. I’m barely coherent.
It was only recently that I felt like I actually recognized what my first sounds were. While I have taken many a photo, the one theme that I can find going back to near the beginning is that of barriers or obstacles. Sometimes these barriers are literal like a barbed wire fence, other times they are more implied, like a rope strung from pole to pole. It’s interesting to focus on these barriers or obstacles because they are not always obvious to everyone. Some barriers blend into their surroundings perfectly. When I was at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in 2005, the SAFE exhibit was showing and artists like Matthias Megyeri had a whole collection dedicated to the juxtaposition of security and beauty.
I visited that exhibit was just after I had purchased my first DSLR. Perhaps it had some lasting impact on what I shoot, perhaps not. Either way, I know that I need to acknowledge the implied barriers that I put up in front of myself, namely not being patient at times. Success doesn’t happen overnight and one doesn’t find their voice quickly. It’s a lesson that is hard to learn but it is good to hear that I am not alone in this struggle as The Art of Photography highlighted.
So what does that mean for me? First, it means that I’m going to get my literal voice back in a day or two. Second, I’m going to get caffeinated. Third, I’m going to capture, and capture, and capture. The more I capture the more I will find my voice, and hopefully, the more you’ll be able to hear me.