The Long Dark Walk

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by MurrayMinchin, Jul 18, 2005.

  1. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Flipping TV channels a while back I caught part of an interview with a 50+ year old Canadian novelist I didn't recognize. He was describing an experience in almost every writers carreer when the hot passion of discovery and exploration is in the past, the writers voice has coalesced into a mature one, and many of the goals set early in life have been attained.

    Then begins, as he descibes it, "The Long Dark Walk." A period of time, usually years in length, of very low to zero artistic output. Some emerge at the other end never to write again. The ones that do emerge as writers do so with a new surge of focused creative energy.

    My experience with The Long Dark Walk is that it's more than a dry spell and more than photographers block. It's a period of internal reflection where you question the very foundation stones of your art. Is photography really the best medium to express that which I have to express? Have I chosen the right negative size? The right film - developer combination? The appropriate paper - developer - toner combination? Is my "style" really the purest form of expression, or a deadend path of least resistance?

    I'm just emerging from my own Long Dark Walk. I have a sense that after these foundation stones are firmly set, I'll be able to forge ahead with a new found freedom unhindered by dark whispering questions lurking in the back of my mind. Confident to the core!

    I'm sure many of you have been spared this experience; consider yourselves lucky! Has anybody else had their own Long Dark Walk? How ya doin?

    Murray
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 18, 2005
  2. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    In my opinion is sounds like too much navel gazing, self analysis and narcissism.

    Shoot what you enjoy. When you cease to enjoy it, shoot something else. Use whatever techniques work for you, occasionally experiment.

    This whole "am I changing the world" internal debate, to me is quite pointless.
    In the end who really gives a shit.

    It's all about doing what you enjoy. Get your eye out of your navel and put it in the viewfinder.



    Michael
     
  3. jjstafford

    jjstafford Inactive

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    Well put, Murray. Perhaps you are a writer after all. You really can be a writer and a photographer at the same time: better at one or the other or vacillating between. No harm at all.
     
  4. medform-norm

    medform-norm Member

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    Blansky,
    it amazes me over and over again how touching you can be in your sensitivity towards others.
     
  5. mark

    mark Member

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    Not so much in photography. I have had dry spells but in the end the camera, really, is an integral part of my life. As important to me as an arm. I could learn to live without it but life would plain suck most of the time. My long dark walk has been professionally. It has lasted for about a year and I hope I come out of it with a clearer purpose or more defined goals. As it is I am not looking forward to going back into the classroom in a couple of weeks. I feel I will not be doing my best for the students.
     
  6. jjstafford

    jjstafford Inactive

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    A lack of sympathy is one of the symptoms of pathological narcissism.
     
  7. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    Well, blansky, it might not be a "warm and fuzzy", but it's true. Very few people care about your art work, so your personal art is just that. Personal. If others like it, great, if not, that's great, too. If you are making art for someone else's enjoyment, then that long dark walk is going to be really, really long.

    As tough as you sound, it's the truth. This premise is the central theme of "Art and Fear" by Ted Orland and David Bayles.
     
  8. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    In my opinion, when people are feeling depression and lack of motivation, sympathy is not necessary what they need. Even if they did, there a plenty of people who are professional sympathizers who thrive on feeling our pain, that will be there to aid us in their misery.

    I tried to offer a different point of view. A "truth" perhaps that can sometimes pull people out of the mire and simply do what they enjoy, for no other reason that it gives them pleasure.

    Anybody who has done anything for any period of time will get into a rut. Then depression sets in and they will drop deeper and deeper into that rut.

    My remedy: Do what excites you and forget about thinking too much.

    Sorry if you think that's unsympathetic.


    PS. I re-read what I first wrote, and my comment "nobody really gives a shit" didn't mean that we don't care that Murray is going through this, my comment meant that in reality nobody really cares about our work and our passion except us.


    Michael
     
  9. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Michael,

    You took the words right out of my mouth. You know with all of this self professed angst it is no wonder to me that no one is accomplishing much of anything worthwhile.

    Rather the vomiting out this self centered drivel it might be worthwhile to search the archives...it probably has been said before...ad nauseum.
     
  10. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    For those who are looking for sympathy, it can be found between sh** and syphilis in the dictionary.
     
  11. gr82bart

    gr82bart Subscriber

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    Looks like we may need a poll on this... :surprised:

    Art.
     
  12. jjstafford

    jjstafford Inactive

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    Search out rocks and trees and you will find the same so-called "ad nauseum". A little tolerance or ignore is in order, Donald.
     
  13. mark

    mark Member

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    Wow. What an ass.
     
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  15. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    From my standpoint it is very true that those who do not give a shit may be constipated...but that too will pass.
     
  16. medform-norm

    medform-norm Member

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    Where, what ass? I sure did see no beautiful ass walk by? What did I miss? Quick, fill me in, I hate to be left out of the good stuff. :D

    Blansky, I take it by now you have come to appreciate my very special form of irony?
     
  17. mark

    mark Member

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    I was commenting on the size. You know "damn what a really big ass."
     
  18. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Hey guys, no need to defend me...I got a real kick out of some of the replies so far :smile: !!

    I'll counter by saying that if artists haven't addressed some of these questions, maybe they are just scimming the surface of their potential.

    To put this into a historical context, I became gluten intollerant without being diagnosed for a long time. I became so run down that whatever energy I had left after work was given to my daughter. I'm getting healthier now, and with the return of energy so is my motivation to create.

    Thanks for the kick in the a$$ anyways Michael :wink:

    Murray
     
  19. Poco

    Poco Member

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    Wow, great attitude, Murray!
    But personally, I'm sorry this thread went nowhere so quickly. Truly the less certain of us writhe at the heels of artistically self-assured giants here at APUG.
     
  20. Poco

    Poco Member

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    edit
     
  21. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    Murray, for what it's worth, I hear ya. I've been fighting it off for awhile now. There was such a rush of "good stuff" in the beginning when I figured out I could actually communicate and express myself through photography; everything just sort of poured out. Now I find that it takes more out of me to produce work that I find meaningful and worth doing. It's not a bad thing, but it does take a conscious effort on my part not to start down the slippery slope toward angst.

    To me, it's not a matter of "just shoot what you like." It's a matter of figuring out what it is I want to say. My work is very much about understanding people and finding a connection with them. When I fail to do that, I just have a standard snapshot of a person. My ability to connect with myself is absolutely required to make meaningful images of other people. My frame of mind completely determines whether I make an image worth making. Believe me, people notice when I'm not really into what I'm doing. It's very obvious.

    Don't know if that makes any sense.

    I'd disagree with this 100%. I don't for one minute feel it's pointless. But then, my goal isn't to change the world, but to hopefully add a new perspective to the kind of work I do. It's very possible, and remarkably easy to do, at least for awhile. It's sustaining it that's hard.

    - CJ
     
  22. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    I walked on [away from] photography for a number of years. I came back to it to find myself again in 96. now after almost 10 years of going through figureing out what I like to create, I find myself worrying that I don't capture some subjects because of past experiences thinking that I didnt like the final result.

    That worries me that I may be loosing out on the "happy accident" or growing as I have in the past.

    After driving around parts of northern Utah and southern Idaho, I've found that I need to keep shooting/creating or I get out of practice vairly quickly. It's not so much the mechanics of it as it is having an eye tuned to "see" what is out there.

    I have also found there are many things that can distract from really enjoying the art, such as selling and marketing.
     
  23. jjstafford

    jjstafford Inactive

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    To refresh your memory:
    http://elearning.winona.edu/jjs/sh/
    (stare at the object of interest for 5 seconds.)
     
  24. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Yep, now we do.
     
  25. medform-norm

    medform-norm Member

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    that girl sure has her heart in a strange place...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 18, 2005
  26. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    What girl? All is see is a road racer with Cheriani forks and clip on bars. Insufficient detalail to make out what engine is mounted in the double cradle loop frame! Most likely are Pirelli RR tires.