The last August I spent five weeks in Bristol, UK, and although I’m writing in past-reference, I’m sitting on my “english” bed, just started the fifth week and counting days off to go back to Barcelona, so excuse me if I refer to a present tense in any sentence (this is the perfectionist philologist speaking)
These weeks have been very useful for my personal development either as a photographer and as a person. I came here with no future plans, because that is what I had, no plans; thinking that I may like the place, that I might find a job and that I could start my photography business here… first starting with my always supporting friend and great photographer Jonathan Taphouse (with whom I worked with during this period of time in England) and later on… who knows… life, may you bring whatever it’s for me. That was the “no plan” plan… opened. When you make a decision like this it’s inevitable people end telling you that this is it, that you’ll end building a life there, etc. etc. … and you may lose perspectives. Your “no plans” plan ends being a “I have to succeed and live there for a while.” I know what I’m talking about because it’s exactly what happened to me. But while I was trying to get to know this city I knew it was not love at first sight… actually we are very different. I’m not gonna start labeling each city, what I like or what I don’t like of Bristol… it’s just not me. May I add an example, a silly and simple one… it’s the same you feel when you try that dress that it’s very trendy, cool, etc. …. but you know it doesn’t feel you.
Then, while I was not feeling me, I remembered my “no plans” plan and was able to “enjoy” (this “” are just a personal feeling, the reader must not try to search for a clear explanation, it feels right to me since I couldn’t really write enjoy as I understand it)
These are just personal issues I’ve been battling with the last weeks. But now, fully aware of the experience, I’m able to analyze what I’ve done and what it meant to me… because I’m not staying in Bristol, but my “no plan” plan actually succeeded.
As a photographer I had been going through a period of… how to put it in words?… low self-steem? Because there’s people telling you all the negative sides of what you do, I lost my goal, I had even lost the ground where I used to walk. I had to rediscover myself as a photographer… just because I was listening to the negative comments, comments which actually did have nothing to do with me.
When you don’t really know how to give shape to all you need to express, in order to find you, you imitate. You copy others’ words to be able to speak. Do that, but don’t do it too much. One of the things I could feel and that I learnt here (through trying to “imitate”) was that, before, I didn’t know what I was doing but what I was doing was me… I mean (yeah, abstract definitions is my thing) it’s not that I was not what I did but that I didn’t really know which part of me was there in what I used to do. Does that make any sense at all? I’ll try to explain better….
I came here and swam in my photography, made it with no external or internal judgement, tried to explore on new fields, views, even movements while taking a photograph. I was then identified with my own style by others and that made me feel me as a photographer. I had tried to “copy” but after “copying” (or adapting to my style) I realized I wasn’t feeling comfortable because it wasn’t feeling me. I was asked “but what do you do, then?” And THEN I had to think… what is it that creates such a difference between my photography and another photographer? Why I do what I do? Then I could understand, analyze, “chew”, feel, touch, embrace what it’s me in my actions. I learnt to call myself a Photographer.
Something else I learnt is: others are not always right. We may look for what others do thinking it’s the best way. The best way is to feel it yours, learn how to do it properly and dare to pour yourself in it. I learnt I can be right.
Like Marta mentioned, throw yourself out of the secure zone.
Now I’m in my room, packing all my stuff and thinking what all this meant to me. Where am I? Where I want to be? I’m able to go to Barcelona with a new vision. What I must not forget now it’s my new perspective, and keep going on all my projects. It’s going very little by little, but this is what happens when you want to create your own path and you’re not very sure about how it’s supossed to be. Fortunately, both Marta and I are achieving it and becoming what we want our lives to be.
Little by little, people… little by little…Paignton, England.