Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop. - Ansell Adams
I stumbled upon this quote the other day. It is not the first time that I have read it but I paused to think about his words. The more that I thought about Ansell's sage advise, the more that I realized that I have been setting myself up for failure...or at least feelings of failure. I think it started with my Project 365. I loved this idea of shooting and sharing every day. I learned so much from the project and my skills improved dramatically. By doing something each and every day I was telling our story and honoring my creativity. However, the joy started to dissipate this year. It didn't feel like fun anymore. In fact, I felt exhausted by the process.
I stopped. I took a break; all the while feeling guilty that I am not telling our everyday story. I concentrated my efforts on still life, a motherhood project and documenting my family when the mood struck me. But honestly, I felt like a failure. I didn't voice this to anyone, I just kept it to myself. So sharing this now feels daunting. I mean who wants to admit failure?
But this quote popped into my world for a reason. Twelve significant photographs, not great or amazing, or strong or out of this world beautiful, but significant. Think about this! Can you create twelve significant photographs? Can you feel the pressure from your shoulders lift a little. I most certainly did! As my muscles relaxed, I realized that I have been asking myself to run a marathon everyday. See beauty, capture beauty, edit beauty, share beauty! This was on repeat. Again and again. Each and every day. No wonder I felt tired and exhausted. I wasn't pausing. I wasn't allowing the beauty to find me. I was constantly searching and looking.
We are not a Coca Cola factory that needs to pump out a quota for each day. We are creative souls that need to pause. We need inspiration to feed our creative soul. We need rest and to respect ourselves. We need to slowdown and be in the moment. When we are in this creative space, the wonder returns. Now, twelve significant photographs is my new goal. I can, we can, do this!
My name is Cindy Cavanagh, and I live in Sydney, Australia. I am a Lifestyle photographer of home and heart. I love to create and always have. I'm Co-Editor of the Long Way Home Magazine, contributor to Journey to Artist and 30 minutes in the life. I am a wife and Mum to 5 gorgeous and crazy children. Ironically, I love the quiet.