Roebuck Bay, Broome
The million dollar question….. How hard can it really be to take beautiful photos in a place as beautiful as the Kimberley? Piece of cake, right?
Let’s be honest, the Kimberley definitely stacks the odds in our favour. Unspoiled wilderness, crazy colours and beautiful light – it’s a winning mix. And yet as someone who has spent 6 years poking around the Kimberley in search of beautiful places and beautiful images it’s easy convince yourself that capturing something new – something different – gets a little harder each time. It’s a silly notion of course. With 420,000 square kilometres to explore there has to be endless possibilities for beautiful photos. And yet it’s easy to get wrapped up in this notion that it’s harder and harder to capture something better than last time – to create new work that people haven’t seen before – and new work that is at least as good as what I’ve done before. It’s a fun challenge. The so-called ‘artist’s burden’.
Now let’s be clear, this creative ‘burden’ is a burden I’m more than happy to carry. It’s an absolute privilege to be able to experience these places and a lot of fun to take a few snaps along the way. Nonetheless, it’s an interesting phenomenon that I suspect most creative people wrestle it. It usually goes something like this…. I know I have taken nice photos in the past but I live every day convinced that today I will not create anything better than I have before. The chances of finding something new in familiar places becomes harder, or so the theory goes. This ‘performance anxiety’ is especially present when I haven’t picked up the camera for a while. Like most anxiety it is a noise the brain creates when it’s not busy doing – or busy creating.
Boab Trees, Derby
Looking objectively at the situation the whole performance anxiety doesn’t make much sense either. Over the years my work has gotten progressively better and my ‘hit rate’ has increased considerably. And yet like every insecure artist wrecked with self doubt I live with the fear that my last good photo might be my last.
Thankfully for me I prove myself wrong on a regular basis just by getting out there and doing it – by treating photography for what it should be – a process of exploration – using the camera to explore the world around me. And sure enough, with a little time and effort – and enough curiosity – familiar places can be seen with fresh eyes and great photos can be found in unexpected places. Nonetheless this creative ‘burden’ is always there and the challenge is to get out there and prove myself wrong as often as I can just by picking up the camera and letting the light and the colours point me in the right direction. And when that moment comes – when you’re standing behind the camera – knowing that you are in the perfect place at the perfect time and knowing you are capturing that perfect Kimberley moment it is simply joyous.
Cape Leveque, Dampier Peninsula