Voices In My Head by Zave Smith
We photographers have a funny life. Few of us have assignments everyday. What I am starting to understand is how we spend our non-assignment hours defines us as photographers almost as much as the pictures we make.
So how do we spend our “off” hours? Do we endlessly fiddle with our images in Photoshop? Do we spend our off time on the phone, sending emails and engaging in heavy-duty marketing? Are we constantly shooting, testing or trying new things between our paid gigs? Or have we perfected the means of self-justified time waste like cruising the social media or watching a 40-part mini-series about art on Netflix?
I believe that the more successful among us divide the majority of our off time between marketing and creating new images. My feeling is, why not shoot? I did not become a photographer because I want to play video games.
This series, “Kelica”, was not really planned. Kelica is a woman who I have photographed before. After our last shoot I had dropped her off at her apartment. I noticed that she had a lot of artwork on her walls where she is the subject. I knew then that I wanted to shoot a portrait of her, just being there, in the midst of images of herself.
The rest of the images just flowed over the next two hours of visual play. This is my practice. I start with one or two ideas and then see what happens. For testing, I often work alone with no assistants or stylists to distract me.
My goal is to get deep inside my visual head and see what happens. This is a lot harder than it sounds. We live in world of many distractions and constant worry. It is very hard to let go, to be present, to let your artist side play without your critical telling yourself that you should be doing something different- right now!
But, if I were the type of person who listened closely to the voices in my head, I would be in a different line of work.