When you make art, be it writing or painting or photography or music, there is a temptation to compare your work to that of other artists. This inexplicable urge opens the mind to doubt and unhelpful questions. Comparing leads us down a dangerous path toward competition, envy, frustration, possibly despair. If we entertain too many doubts and questions, we can’t make art. Instead, we fall into the trap of stopping before we even get started. What good is that?
I thought about this compare/contrast/judge/validate issue while I was reviewing the photographs I shot today. Some of the photographs were poorly aligned, or badly framed, or simply dull. A few highlighted the maddening and seemingly permanent smurch that has occurred, not on the lens, but inside the camera; I suppose it is on the mirror. So as I flipped through the images on my monitor, I ruled out this, this, this, this, and not that or that or that. These decisions were straightforward, the easy ones.
More difficult, by far, is the choice of what to show. Because there is a deadline, and a commitment, I’ve made my choice now, today.
Choosing is always easier, I find, when there are constraints. Is that true for you, too?
What level and type of constraint can provide a supportive framework to creative efforts, and what type of constraint is overly restrictive to the point of being destructive or inhibiting? Which edge do you prefer to walk along?
Anyhow, here are the two photographs from this afternoon’s jaunt to the Farmers Market at the corner of Fairfax and Third in Los Angeles. There is an exhibit of vintage memorabilia in honor of the original market back in the 1930’s, hence the air pump in the first photo.
The parking is lot is usually crowded. (First two hours are free with validation, so I bought a tiny box of blueberries and some dried red pepper flakes.) On my way back to the car, I stopped to dig out my parking pass and admired the lot attendant’s busy kiosk.
I am amused to notice that all of my photos in this challenge so far have something to do with cars, although I photographed a range of subjects. Los Angeles is famous for its “car culture” after all!
I hope you enjoy the photos. Maybe you have a car-related photo to share?
Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts about constraints on creative choices and on sharing your creative work.