Ask any good artist and they will tell you how important it is to iterate. Like lifting weights to build muscle, iterating for artists builds an art-muscle. Artists must iterate to develop their taste in art and their skill in performing the art. More importantly, iterating helps distill an idea into something elegant.
I continue to sharpen the focus of my portrait project. I want to iterate on this idea and I am committed to it. To do this I approach my friends, family, and acquaintances for their time to sit for me. Photographing people you already know and like makes better photos; your images become deeper than the veneer of skin. Guy Tal talks about this in his blog post The Healing Landscape:
The response from the people I approach is mixed. Some readily accept while others hesitate. Some messages get lost entirely in the confusion of social media. I will have better success if I run into more people in real life so I can make a bid for their time. Unfortunately paths only cross virtually in a fleeting comment thread on the News Feed. The News Feed is the new edge of natural landscape using Guy Tal’s words.
I approach models to fill the gaps in my time and to iterate more. We may not have a personal connection but I can still practice the medium. I try to find up-and-coming models who might want to add my project to their portfolio; we both get practice and it only costs us our time. Since I live in Lakeland which isn’t exactly drowning in creatives I have to travel to Tampa or Orlando. This limits me to weekends and time becomes a bottle-neck quickly.
Moreover, unpaid models typically reschedule, cancel or just not show up. A guaranteed shoot comes at an additional cost. I may have to travel somewhere to meet the model and I will have to pay their hourly rates. I will willingly pay a model when my idea is solid and when I can depend firmly on my skills. This is just not a cost I can bear right now while I am still iterating.
More people will be willing to work with me when I can show more consistent and developed skill, but I can’t develop my skill unless I have worked with more people. Catch 22. Where does this leave me but in the mercy of patience? I have a few shoots scheduled for the next several weekends. I expect a number of them to get cancelled or rescheduled.
I just have to keep at it. Perhaps I should take this time to make portraits of landscapes.