When you can’t do it alone…

Written on July 25, 2011 by in Artistry & inspiration, Business savvy

I’ve been holding onto this post for a while because I just wasn’t sure I was comfortable posting it. My friend Cassandra says that the posts you’re most uncomfortable with are the ones you most need to share, so I’ve decided to go Eminem-in-8-Mile-style and share some dirty laundry…

It all started when I was approaching photographers to participate in my by-invitation workshop. I got some push back. A few folks asked to see my work or wanted me to explain my style, I guess as proof that I knew what I was talking about in terms of stylistic development and/or clarity of vision. Well, here’s the deal: I have no work to show because I don’t shoot. I’m blocked creatively and have been for over a year. There, I said it.

Holga inspiration by Vick the Viking (via Flickr)

Yes, I am physically capable of picking up a camera and shooting, but I’m not in the zone and my results don’t speak to me. I’ve tried to unblock through lomography with a Holga and an ancient SX-70 but, most of the time, I don’t even pick up my gear. That is a major component of why I’m so dedicated to helping others avoid a similar fate.

Where I am sucks. It’s confusing and bewildering. I want to produce work that I’m proud of, that I like, but I just…can’t.

I can, however, help others. I clearly see the strengths and needs of people I’m working with, and I’m loving helping them.

Writing this reminds me of my recent conversation with Maria Ross. Near the end of our interview, we were discussing the value of consultants and mentors, and she said:

“It’s always hard to do it for yourself. I think that’s why it’s good to get an objective eye. I can look at someone else’s business and think of the five million things they should be doing, but when it comes to you, you know your business so well and you know what you’re trying to say, that sometimes it’s good to get that objective help.”

Thank you, Maria, I couldn’t agree more. A similar discussion came up when I talked with Jessica Swift

So, there you have it. Sometimes we can’t do it all ourselves. Sometimes a collaborator or mentor can help to push us out of our rut or beyond our comfort zone in a positive way. 

In that vein, while I am working on ways to reinvigorate my own creativity, I also recently found a photographic mentor to help. He knows that I’m stuck, and goal number one is to get unstuck. Goal two will be to determine whether I want to return to client work, pursue independent projects or do nothing more than acknowledge and express gratitude for getting back in the zone. I’ll keep you posted… although I still contend that this blog is not about my photography. It’s about yours.

So, how are you doing? Any questions, thoughts, fears, failures or successes to share about your photography or business? Share on, friends. You can even do it anonymously. ;-)



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  1. Bettie
    July 26, 2011

    There is something very empowering about saying the words out loud, or writing them and sharing them with whoever (whomever?) might be reading them. I hope that you find that this is the first step towards becoming unstuck. Thank you for being brave enough to post this and for being so enormously helpful in my quest to find my own voice.
    Bettie recently posted..Alley 33 Fashion Event — a recap

  2. Kate Watson
    July 27, 2011

    Hi Bettie: It’s funny. Now that everything’s out there, it’s even more clear to me that my ability to pick up a camera is unrelated to my ability to consult and to help others. They’re totally different skill sets, aren’t they?! Whether or not I return to photography, I’ll always be the person who designed and developed this program. Thank you for your support!

  3. Cassandra Kinaviaq Rae
    August 9, 2011

    Aw I’m so proud of you for sharing your story! The thing that strikes me the most is how beautiful your stuckness is. We often think that uncomfortable experiences are “bad” and that we should always be moving along swiftly towards our goals. But, what if our heart wants something different for us? and what if it’s buried beneath a whole bunch of “shoulds” and “have to’s”? I admire you for delving into your stuckness, Kate. And maybe even Art Aligned was born out of it?!
    Cassandra Kinaviaq Rae recently posted..Are you asking, “What should I do?”

  4. […] more than a year. Well, I am happy to report that something has shifted. Maybe it was a result of sharing my truth. Maybe it was the perfect combination of time and subject. Regardless, I felt an incredibly strong […]

  5. […] were available, like, immediately. She said, “Sure, come on by!” and, as a result, my photographic recovery progressed one more step. Photographing Corinne and Phippslette (baby girl) gave me the […]

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