Musings on Photography

SoFoBoMo and Running on Faith

Posted in Solo Photo Book Month by Paul Butzi on March 12, 2008


We’ve now got less than 20 days to the earliest start to SoFoBoMo. Of course, it’s a fuzzy month, so you can start as late as May 1 if you like. My thinking is pretty much along the lines of “If were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well it were done quickly”. My plan is to start on April 1, God willing and the Creek don’t rise.

I admit to watching the oncoming start date with a sort of peculiar horrified fascination. The last couple of weeks have held a fair bit of agonized thinking about whether I want to switch from my currently planned project (which now looks to me like the stupidest idea ever beheld by Man) or to stick with it and bull it through. I’m optimistic that I can get it done and include some good photos, but I also suffer from the morbid feeling that my optimism is like the optimism of the next victim in the slasher movie, walking along bravely assuring herself that the evil villain won’t notice her walking down the darkened street. We all know what happens next – the music takes an ominous turn, and the victim has just enough time to scream.

What’s my big fear? My big fear is that I’ll start, and no sooner will I get out the camera than I’ll be beset by a world class case of the yips. Yes, yes, I know that strictly speaking the yips are a physical thing, and I’m not worried that I won’t be able to work the camera. I’m worried I’ll get the photographic yips – that all of a sudden my dry spell will return and I’ll either find it impossible to make photos or get nothing but dreck.

So I’m sitting here, listening carefully to the music and hoping it doesn’t get ominous, because I know that right after the music turns ominous, something bad happens.

Amusingly, what I’ve been listening to this morning is Eric Clapton’s “Unplugged”. My favorite song on that album is Clapton’s rendition of Jerry Lynn Williams plaintive “Running on Faith”, the lyrics of which run (in the second verse)

Lately I’ve been talking in my sleep
Can’t imagine what I’ve got to say

Ah, yes. My problem is that I although I can imagine project themes, I’m having trouble imagining that I’ll have anything to say.

The answer, of course, is in the first lines of the song:

Lately I’ve been running on faith
What else can a poor boy do?

That’s me. I’m all dressed up and ready to go, and I guess I’m just going to have to trust that when the Big Day arrives and I pick up the camera, I’ll be able to get into the flow and get out of the way and let the photos happen. I’ve got a plan (maybe two) but when the time comes, I’ve convinced myself that having a plan is good but I’ve got to be ready to let go of that plan and take the photos that are in front of me, trusting I’ll be able to put them together into something sensible.

What else can a poor boy do?

5 Responses

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  1. Gordon McGregor said, on March 12, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Isn’t this the sort of fears and potential for procrastination, the ‘I’m not good enough’ and all that SoFoBoMo is supposed to sweep out of the way ? I’m writing this with a smile on my face – I know how you feel. Performance pressure. Expectations. Fear.

    It’ll be over in a month, one way or another 😉

    Particularly your comment about wanting to switch projects or finding your current idea stupid and uninteresting sounds familiar to me. I keep running up against that on self-assigned projects. Even worse when they are somehow externally or randomly selected (pulling ideas/subjects out of a hat) I always, immediately, want to stop this nonsense and sit around and wait for a more worthy idea to land on my head.

    But you know, you are better off just getting on with it and seeing what happens. The picture taken is always going to be more real than the imaginary wonders in your head. For good or ill. The book finished is always a bigger learning step than the one you haven’t started.

    So I’d suggest sticking with your idea. Don’t second guess it. Shoot it. Live with it. It’ll be over in a month.

  2. Paul said, on March 12, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    I’m with you Paul and have vacillated between theme ideas, finally, having faith that I picked the right one in the first place.

    I have to constantly remind me that it is for me, and only for me. No one else.

    The photo accompanying your text is great and the visual of the victim walking down the street is both appropriate, telling, and humorous at the same time.

    As Gordon said, it will be over in month … good or bad. The idea is to just do it.

  3. Bryan Willman said, on March 12, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    There is no try, only to do, or to not do.

    But how well done, that can only be told later…

  4. John Setzler said, on March 12, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    I don’t know how good, bad, or ugly my project will be in the end, but I’m hoping to gain the desire to do it all again after this one has been completed.

  5. […] very welcome side affect of this SoFoBoMo is an unexpected kinship. The other day, Paul Butzi wrote very eloquently about his fears about the subject that he chose and that, in the end, he’ll […]

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