I am a big believer in making time to analyze newly created works. At the end of each year I put together a personal list of top 10 images that I created so that I can do my research about my own process. After making my selections, I try to find similarities between them that might indicate a direction I could go in or a way to categorize the images. I look for similar lighting, locations, themes, characters, elements, etc.
This year I’m seeing a few recurring elements. One is fog and darkness. I love creating a neutral environment where the subject can stand out from the background, and creating a dark background or a foggy background seems to be something I am very drawn to. All of the images I liked from this year had obscured faces, so I know to continue down that path of really stripping the personal identity away from the characters I’m creating. And the final thing that seems to be consistent is that most of my characters are doing something. I like for them to interact with what I am photographing in some way, or to at least be posed in such a way that furthers the story and makes the physics of the world more believable.
Choosing images is never an easy thing. I found it simple to narrow my selections down to 12, but deleting two of them was really hard. I made my choices based on gut reactions to the works. Some I chose because of the whole process, and others solely based on what it ended up looking like. But either way, I can confidently say these are my favorites that I’ve created this year. And I had a lot of images I really, truly didn’t care for when all was said and done. I created over 80 images this year (and many more than ended up in the depths of my computer’s folders). I learned from the images I didn’t like as much.
And you know the connection there? They weren’t meaningful enough. They didn’t have enough story. They were created in haste. They were not loved enough while they were baking and the bread went flat.
If you’ve baked some not-so-tasty loaves of bread this year, don’t dwell on it. Sometimes it’s good to keep the mice in the back of your mind fed with bread crumbs. The art that you created that didn’t work out is food for thought. It isn’t something you sell, but it does inform your new works. You know what you did wrong. You can learn from it. And you can move on.
I would love to see your favorite piece of art that you created this year!
And if you aren’t an artist in the traditional sense, share something that you saw this year that really moved you! I can’t wait to be inspired by YOU!