Sunday, 31 October 2010


A well known on line source tells us about The Doldrums being an area of calm winds near the equator, then adds,

"Colloquially, to be in the doldrums, said especially of a person, is to be listless, despondent, inactive, stagnant, in a slump".

That's me then.

Why am I not getting on with the tasks at hand, why so much prevarication about what to shoot and why the reluctance to get the cameras out and just see what happens ?.

In my APEL application I remember talking about how my photography "just happens" and how I felt vunerable because that "method" of working was maybe unreliable. I am now not so sure that leaving that behind and being in a structure is such a good thing. There are a few issues that I have to deal with first. Number one is that some of the course projects I find quite mundane and a chore to complete rather than being exciting and interesting. I know this attitude is wrong and I need to try and find more within the projects and embrace them rather than just being a means to an end.

Photography, and how successful you are is about being confident. Judging yourself is more important than how a tutor may see your work, because they only see the final work, they see nothing of the thought or angst that lies behind the images. Anxiety and doubt about new work, whether it be a  success or failure is always at the back of my mind, and I know that if I prepare some work that is deemed a failure it will be months before I look at a camera again. This iterative process does lead to The Doldrums, a place where the thought of failure almost secures that outcome, if for no other reason than that Autumn will not last forever and if I don't shoot some work soon, it will be Winter and with no autumnal images failure is assured.

Maybe then this week then I will seize the moment, look at a weather forecast and just do it.

We will see.


  1. I'm sorry things are not going so well for you Nigel. Looking back over your blog it seems that the rot began to set in when you were busy at work and home and not able to spend time on pictures. Sometimes I find that the less you do the less you are inclined to do. Maybe the answer is to plan less and just go out? Stop worrying about the light and the course and just go out for walks with the camera to see what you find? Or even go out without the camera and practice just looking and observing closely? Perhaps that's not the answer for you but I do think that the important thing is to make yourself start. When I say things like maybe I'll do it this week (usually meaning starting a diet ; -)) I find that in fact it means I have no real intention of doing it, and that's what worries me about your statement above.

    I was very interested in art as a child but somewhere in my teens I lost heart and stopped. Periodically in years since then I'd take pictures when the mood took me or even do the odd drawing but I never quite got into the groove. It's taken me decades to get back to where I left off and really get fired up and enthused again. I know how difficult it can be to push through that barrier of lack of confidence and drive. And I know also that the only way to move through it is to start. I'm sure you know that yourself and I really do hope that you find it in yourself to begin again.

  2. Thanks for your encouragement Eileen. Its a curious place to be right now. Knowing what has to be done, but seemingly unable to do it. Next week will be different.

  3. That's good to hear. Take care.

  4. If it makes you feel any better, I have struggled with the projects too. I suspect given your experience with landscape photography, the focus of the projects is technical rather than mentally challenging - and therefore not particularly inspiring. I have found that with Soc Doc and I have tackled it much less methodically than with TAOP. For me, the course strengths are not necessarily the course material or project work, but being in a learning environment amongst others who are interested in the same thing. Forgive the analogy, but for me it provides a sturdy coat stand for you to hang your own coats on. I would use the course projects and assignments in a way that you think benefits you the most. Perhaps a little artistic licence??

    Good luck going forward and I hope you find time to get out before all the leaves have fallen!

  5. Just have to get on with and grin and bear it I guess.