The past year has been a whirlwind.
Building a house, selling the old house, moving into the new… Life seemed to be on hold for a while whilst I pored over flooring samples and splattered my clothes with paint. As well as photography, a love of mine is design and interiors, and so I pounced on the opportunity to make a house from scratch. And I loved it. But there’s only so much Pinterest-lurking you can do until you realise that, yes, there is always going to be a more beautiful room out there. There is always going to be a paint colour I prefer to the one I’ve chosen, and, oh my goodness, there are some gorgeous tiles around, but, oh my goodness, they are the price of a holiday. It reached a point where I did not want to look at another picture of a doorknob, that the creativity of designing was being sucked away in the vortex of this-decision-needs-to-be-made-right-now, and I realised that what was chosen was good enough.
And then it was done.
As everyone says, life is hectic. Now that the house is finished, the time spent planning it has now been absorbed by the things that fill the everyday. I look up at my eldest son and see that his features are changing, that his trousers have become shorts almost overnight. His brother is beginning to talk, and his “I lub you, Mum” breaks my heart because I know that by the time the trees have dropped their leaves again, that “lub” will have been left behind. As his brain is absorbing, growing, correcting, mine is struggling to remember the day of the week. Behind everything is the knowledge that time is slipping away, and I am passing my youth onto them.
These moments always bring with them an urge to be creative. To step away from the everyday, from business, from money and bills, and indulge that other part of the brain. Tapping into that secret, dark place often gives me a sharpened sense of reality, and an immediate joy of simply being alive. Hemingway said, ‘All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.’ When you do that, whether it’s writing or painting or taking a picture, you experience a crazy, endorphin-filled high that alcohol or any kind of drug could never match.
The picture accompanying this post is from a day I spent creating pictures using the wet plate collodion process, six years ago at home in my studio. Since then, I’ve made my two favourite creations, but the constant face and bottom-wiping they require tends to dampen that elusive high. I need my creative mojo back. So rather than wait until December, I’m going to make my resolution now. Before the year is out, I’m going to have dabbled in something new, whether it’s increasing my wet-plate knowledge, getting back in the darkroom, or finally learning how to use that 100 year old large format camera that’s decaying in the loft. Blogging seems to have gone the way of the dodo since the advent of Instagram, but I’m going to post the results here. I miss the simplicity of the blog.
If I type my intention in black and white on these pages, I’ll do it. That’s how I work.
So here I go.