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Jim Larkin | all galleries >> Galleries >> Photo a Day - 3rd Time's a Charm > March 23, 2009
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March 23, 2009

A Weird Place

Hi. Sorry Iíve been away. I have gotten many emails wishing me well and making sure everything is OK. Some I have answered, some I havenít, all have been read. I am so appreciative of every one of them. Those that know me well, know that I sometimes go MIA. Itís not my intention to worry people, but it is an inevitable by product. My apologies.

I have been in a weird place for the last month. I thought it was because of winter. I thought it was because I have taken pictures of everything that you could take pictures of. I thought it was because I was a hack who wanted to be a photographer so badly that I never realized how awful my stuff was, until now. I thought a lot of things. I completely lost all of my inspiration and all of my desire to even pick up my camera.

For the first time since I bought my D50 years ago I stopped taking my camera to work. I just didnít want to anymore. I wasnít using it and it was just taking up space. While I didnít want to take it with me anymore, I wondered ďIs this it? Did I outgrow this hobby now? Am I going to move on to something else?Ē I found myself exhausted at the thought of lugging my camera out and having to push the shutter.

I have recently started to concentrate on my kid photography. I still love it but I wondered if I had turned it into work. If I had ruined the one thing that I loved. The one thing that allowed me a release. The one thing that felt right to me. I donít think that was it, though it had something to do with it. I think I made my brain believe that I shouldnít be taking pictures of ANYTHING but kids.

Without my camera in my hand, I have become irritable. I have been a little depressed. Edgy. While the kid thing is part of it, I am a bigger part. I am very busy. Busy doing a whole lot of nothing. Busy on Facebook. Busy checking in with all of my forums that I just HAVE to check in on. Busy sitting on the couch and watching TV. Busy doing nothing that means anything.

I was thinking, ďHow many reflection pictures can you take? How many rearview mirror pictures can you take? How many sunset pictures can you take?Ē Do you know what the answer is? As many as you want to. I donít make a living doing this and neither do most of you. I do it because I enjoy it. I enjoy taking pictures of nothing and writing about it. I have gotten away from that somewhere along the line. Somewhere along the line I decided that I am too good to take ANOTHER sunset picture. Man, how wrong is that?

I have a very good friend who told me that I needed to go out by myself and find whatever it was that I was missing. She was right. Today I went downtown into an area called the Flats. Itís a gritty, dirty, crime infested place but I love it. I parked my truck and walked around, with my camera, for hours. I took a lot of pictures. Pictures that will never be published anywhere but pictures that I liked.

I took this one at the end of the day, before I had looked at the other shots from the day. I took it so that it could be my last picture posted on Pbase. I thought that maybe it was time to move on. Time to go and do this for me, not you. The more I thought about it though, Pbase is for me. You are just the ones that hold me accountable and make me keep taking pictures.

I will officially abandon my PaD tomorrow. Tomorrow I will start a new gallery called ďLifeĒ. I might post two pictures a day, I might post one a week. I will post things that I am interested in instead of forcing myself to come up with a picture everyday. Thatís enough to beat the inspiration right out of you. Itís too much for me. My PaD became an obsession for me. When I missed days I felt bad about myself and that isnít what this should be about. Too much pressure. Too much.

I will see you tomorrow. Itís a new day.......a fresh start.

Nikon D300 ,Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
1/6s f/6.3 at 24.0mm iso400 full exif

other sizes: small medium original auto
Guest 21-May-2009 15:18
All sounds soo familiar Jim.
For me anyway, routine is the killer.
Just a small change in approach can
enrich a subject again, and the best thing about that is,
you don't have to run off screaming into the night, you
get to keep all that experience you've accumulated and use it a little differently.
Glad to see you're still in there. Great pic, Great expression.
FairEnigma10-May-2009 21:04
Me too...and me too
Burn out - busy - frazzled but coming around and I'm glad you are too!
Guest 01-Apr-2009 11:17
Is it just me or is the title of this year's PAD just a bit ironic?

On a more serious note, I can completely empathize with much of what you were saying. I don't do a true PAD for the same reasons you outlined. If I had to post a new image every day, the joy of photography would quickly diminish. There's a reason I don't have any photos posted for 2007; my job required me to take photos that year, and the joy of my hobby was replaced with a bit of resentment. The truth is, I shoot when I want to shoot and I don't shoot when I don't want to. What I harshly found out was that when photography becomes a chore, inspiration takes a vacation. ...but maybe that's just me.
Matt G. 29-Mar-2009 02:08
Jim, its about time. I have a rotation that I check every morning to include stocks, chronicle telegram, yahoo sports, and Jim's PaD. Eveything must come to an end though. I always dread when Rush Limbaugh retires, or Tom Hamilton stops calling the tribe games. The other one is you stopping your shots. What ever.
Cindi Smith25-Mar-2009 05:28
Glad you aren't throwing in the towel. I would miss your images, Jim! But, taking them everyday can be hectic and just gear into what moves you. I so look forward to whatever you take and post and so glad that you aren't leaving Pbase! We all have those days where inspiration just seems to fly out the window. I am feeling it too....but know that tomorrow is another day and something will catch your eye and you will take a picture of it or not...all I know is that you aren't leaving and I'm happy about that!
Marni J. Bradford25-Mar-2009 05:23
Glad to see you back Jim, and good for you for doing what you need to do to keep enjoying the journey called photography. I don't think I formally ended my PaD and it doesn't bother me because it was getting to be the same for me, take a photo for the sake of taking a photo and not because it was something that really meant something. I look forward to your new gallery and your take on "Life", and I'm glad that you're not totally giving up on Pbase :).
Guest 25-Mar-2009 01:43
thanks for keeping us in the loop, jim. i knew you were alive because of facebook, but i do miss your pics and insight here on pbase. shoot what and when you want. we'll be here to enjoy it...
Neil Horner24-Mar-2009 22:27
Great to see you back mate, I gave up PADing ages ago for the same reason , you end up posting pictures you are not really happy when you like and don't sweat it if you miss a week or two.....Pbase will always be there......
pkocinski24-Mar-2009 15:03
Welcome back. I missed you and your images of "life" as it passes in front of your lens. I am really glad you are not giving up on us here at PBase :-)
Mike Stobbs24-Mar-2009 13:57
Ahh the pressure of PAD.....looks like most of us have had the same pressures of the years or end days. I'm glad you are not going to abandon us Pbasers.....I do keep up with your Blog on your new photo site though. I was so caught up in PAD that I never worked on the other stuff I had captured. So some days I just left the PAD and worked on that stuff.
I know lot's of us follow you on F.B. but I just can't find the time to comment there some days.....Non the less glad to see you back in some shape or form.....Cheers....Mike
jude24-Mar-2009 12:50
LOL ... don't SHOOT ME, officer!

The important part is that you're paying attention to how it makes you feel. I refuse to let photography be a chore, or work, or make me feel negative. It's why I now only do photojournalistic-style weddings - no poses at ALL. It's why I don't do family portraits unless they aren't serious and formal. It's why i stopped shooting boats so "tourists will buy them." I only do what I love because I want to continue to love it until I take my last breath.

I love the Flats.. I'm actually jealous because one of my favorite photos was taken down at Edgewater Park in February with all the crazy sea gulls dipping in the water. (you should go down there.. it's fantastic).. I miss the city only for the possibility of diffeerent photographs.

Do what makes you love it ... try to remember those first feelings. You'll get there. I have faith.

and a Canon. :P
jude24-Mar-2009 12:43
I think if you bought a Canon camera you'd change how you feel.
Doria24-Mar-2009 09:39
Jim, I had a feeling you'd "gone underground" and tried not to worry, but it is good to hear from you again! (especially from a photographer's standpoint.) I feel the same way sometimes, especially this time of year. So happy you are not leaving Pbase completely! Your insights are valuable. Really.

Your everyday observations are extraordinary, Jim. Images and comments alike. Thank you.
Nicki Thurgar24-Mar-2009 08:11
Ah, I can totally identify with the pressure to do a PAD... silly isn't it - it's only yourself that puts the pressure on - no-one else would be angry or upset with you if you missed a day or so! PAD has been the one thing that has developed my eye more than anything else could, but it has recently become more of a chore so I do know what you mean. Well, as long as you don't abandon us fellow Pbasers for good, it'll always be great to see the photos you post whenever YOU feel like posting them! :o)
Debbie Blackburn Beierle24-Mar-2009 06:56
You hit the nail on the head! PaD-ing is obsessive/Pbase is obsessive! Finding a balance is the hard part!!! Sounds like you are on the right track! Enjoy photography AND enjoy life!!! Hang in there, Jim!!!
tammie24-Mar-2009 03:58
Good to see you back. I think at one point we all go through a dry spell. I never tried a PAD because yes, they seem like alot of pressure and quite honestly that would not be fun for me, so I applaud all of you that do them. Look forward to "Life" as well, when ever you decide to post. Good Luck to you!
Ed Preston24-Mar-2009 03:40
What a good subject to shoot! Missed ya. Looking forward to "life".
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