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A Creativity Crisis

It's hard to believe the end of 2017 is here, but here we are. When we began this year, I'll be honest and say it didn't much feel like the start of a new year. Instead, it felt like a continuation of a very difficult and very disorienting 2016 that just bled over. I wonder if the upcoming New Year's Day will feel more like a turning point than it did last year; more of a traditional reset, complete with resolutions and goals anew? I hope so.

This photo was taken in the first week of January at the beginning of this year. It was actually the first photo I took of 2017. As part of my goals for the year, I had set for myself several objectives for photography, the most significant of which was to hone my own visual style and to be consistent with its use throughout the year. That style (specifically, the light, colors, and tones, achieved through both shooting and processing) didn't really fully materialize until somewhere around the middle of the year, but this image was one where it first started to form. I've been mostly pleased with my progress, which takes us to this blog post. 

Being mostly pleased isn't something that I'm used to equating to an accomplishment. As I begin to look back on 2017, I feel like most of the goals I set for myself for photography were less than 100% achieved. I'm mostly pleased with my visual style that has evolved just as I was mostly pleased with the experimental project I did with The Ohio Diaries and all the other work that followed. Looking a little further back, I think what's bothering me is that I was more satisfied with what I accomplished in 2016 from a creative point of view. My writing in this blog was more consistent (and I think generally better) and the images I captured were more compelling (like in this post, one of my favorites from that year). I might not have had a consistent visual style then, but I think the pictures told better stories. 

I tell myself it's all part of the process. That I haven't taken a step backwards. But I feel like I've been stuck in something of a creativity rut lately. Maybe a crisis? There are only a few days left in 2017, and I'm hoping it's enough time to think my way out of this block. To be inspired and to figure out how to integrate what I did accomplish this year with photography into all that I had prior. 2018 is coming, and I want it to be different.