Posts Tagged ‘inspiring’

I have a few different blogs that I post to, one regularly, RoyStryker.com, and one more occasionally, this one, 6x6portraits.com.

I also have a YouTube Channel, easy to remember its web address because I use HeresToGoodLight.com as an easy link to remember–I put out a video weekly.

Screen Shot 2019-12-09 at 9.09.56 PMAnd there’s a podcast I started up, daily. Yep, everyday, aptly named, Kenneth Wajda’s Daily Photography Blog.

And while I have over 4k subscribers to my YouTube channel, most of my other blogs only get 20-40 hits a day, That might seem insignificant to some, but I do it because I think of it as 20-40 people are coming to my theater and seeing my work, my writing or my photography each day.

And they come from around the world.  Literally, every corner of the world has viewers and readers. And while some people might think if you don’t have big numbers, it’s not a success, so why bother, I see it as quality delivery–if I make an impression on someone who takes the information to heart, who comes away empowered or inspired, that’s a superpower I have.

And not to tout my own horn, but that’s a gift, to be able to affect someone else around the globe, to make an impression that says, “Yep, you’ve got this,” or “Nope, that doesn’t work for me, and if it doesn’t work for you, it’s okay, maybe it’s not for everyone.”

My goal is to show everyone, photographer and non-photographer alike, that they can accomplish anything they set out to do. They just need to show up. We all need to show up, and make something. And show up again tomorrow. Despite the obstacles. There will always be things in the way. We have to keep at it.

A good book that inspired me, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.  We have to build, and build, and go forward.

Everyone quits. We don’t quit. It’s why I’m writing this at a pub right now instead of watching TV. Because TV doesn’t do anything for me, I’m just watching a screen and seeing fictional stories of other peoples’ lives or actual stories of sports figures. I can’t give them my time, to watch them live–I have my life to live.

Photographs to make.

Words to write. (I also write screenplays and novels and I am seeking representation if you know someone to contact.)

Because words matter. Pictures matter. Connections matter.

And I create to connect, to build up, to empower and inspire. I hope you know you can do anything you set out to do. You just can’t quit. (Virtually everyone quits–they don’t really want to do it.) Something you really want to do, nobody has to talk you into doing. Nobody is forcing me to create words and photos.

It’s who I am. It’s what I do. It’s not something I will someday retire from.

Because it’s me.

And as this Journey song is playing on the radio, Open Arms, as only Steve Perry could sing it, and my photographs documenting the street are ones only I could make, and portraits of family, and on and on, you have work that only you can make.

But we have to show up. Every day. And go to work.

I have a difficult time making photographs sometimes. It’s because I know what I want a photograph to do, how I want it to look composition-ally, or story-wise, or just the right light. And when those don’t come together in some combination, I don’t fire the shutter.

It just sits, idle, waiting.

I’m reading a book about the beauty of everything, and I believe what it is saying–that there is inherent beauty in everything. Not just the things we’ve been told are beautiful. Things that have been drilled into us–“This here is beautiful.”

But how do you un-see and how do you un-know what you do see and do know?

If I look at a Walker Evans photograph, like this one, Negroes’ Church, South Carolina, 1936″, he didn’t wait for the light to be early in the day or late in the evening. Or people to be entering or exiting.  He was documenting the church when he was passing it. The very act of him photographing it creates the picture’s importance, and why we’re still looking at it 80+ years later.

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Negroes’ Church, South Carolina, 1936

There’s beauty in the act of framing the photograph.  And there’s beauty in the ordinary, the mundane, the regular stuff.

I went on a photo walk recently with a photographer friend to a rural town heading east called Platteville, and we each brought old film cameras.  I was shooting a Mamiya C330S with a wide-angle 55mm lens and Kodak Ektar film (expired 2011, shot at box speed).  The very act of shooting it made me look for subjects to shoot, and so I was able to find them.

There is something to putting the frame up and seeking a photograph.  There is something to being on a time frame–the photo walk starts now and goes til dusk when we’ll stop and then get a beer.

Structure, deadlines, they make things happen.  If I weren’t on the lookout for these images, I wouldn’t have seen them and wouldn’t have stopped to make them.

It’s an incredibly important part of the creative process–to show up.  To schedule time for the muse to join us and work to create.

And in a world where technology seems to value the quick and instant ability to share phone snaps, there was a real specialness to shooting these 12 frames, and then sending the film off to be processed and waiting for the results.  Having the thrill of seeing the photographs once they were finished and I had stepped away from them.

To see them with fresh eyes.

To have had time to play with color. To seek out compositions. As a photographer who often gets asked what’s the best way to learn to make photographs, I say, go out and make photographs.  Work to create pictures in a set time frame and you and the muse, play.

Photography is a wonderful art. It allows us to stop time so we can revisit it later.  To go back to that Negros’ church in 1936.  To visit Platteville in 2019.  And to document our lives and the lives of our families and friends so that we will always be able to go back and savor those times.

But we’re not limited to these images.  We can photograph small details.  Little things that we think of when we think of someone.  The way they hang their coat on a chair.  The indentation on their pillow after they get up in the morning.

We just have to see that there’s beauty surrounding us.  And not to wait for the only moments we’ve been conditioned to see.

If you like a daily affirmative talks about photography, take a look at my Inspiring Photo Talks Web Page with just that, photo talks.  Short, positive, fun talks about all things (mostly analog) photography.

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I am a working commercial photographer, who shoots in both film and digital.  Often, digital is required because the client needs the images in a very short turnaround.  And they need a great quantity of images.  Digital is good for that.

But I’ve come to the conclusion that PROJECTS are not going to get you anywhere but closer to paying this month’s bills.  To make a name for yourself, to get successful, you need PRODUCT.

The difference, I see, is like this.  A book is a product.  It can sell for years to come.  A gallery show is a product–it’s an event featuring you and your work.  A film, a record, a book, a short story, these are all products, and you can create a career with them.

But photographing a freelance job that gets images for one purpose, even if you can shoot ten of them a week, is still a project.  The project ends, and there is no lasting value, except perhaps to photograph it another time.  Many clients in this business end up being one and outs.  Those shoots pay the bills, and that’s all they do.

Products aren’t about creating for someone else’s needs.  Products are the result of creating for your own needs.  Putting your name on the cover and calling it your love.  And risking they may not buy it, like it.  They may even call it worthless and ridicule you.  But if it’s your vision, that’s what is valuable.  Your willingness to say something.  That’s the basis of product.

So, my focus is on my products, not projects.  It’s how I can go farther in my career and create lasting value in my work.  It’s how I can create legacy–my products are all that will be remembered.  Names are forgotten.  People disappear.  But we know the work.

That work is the product.  And that is what we must work for.

I AM LYONS COLORADO is a book I published in 2013.  It’s a product.  It exists in people’s homes and in the local library.

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