A turn for the better.

Photos taken during The American West: Crafting Fine Digital Prints, at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, in July 2014:

near Abiquiu, New Mexico

The beginning of the end
near Madrid, New Mexico

A deliberate placement
El Santuario de Chimayó
Chimayó, New Mexico

Many things require an anchor
near Abiquiu, New Mexico

Going around back
Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico

The way begins to be revealed
near Madrid, New Mexico

Solace in the midst of storms
near Abiquiu, New Mexico

A curious thing happened during my week at the Workshops. The sky, the horizon, the colors, the clouds – things that normally provide me with great comfort – held little interest.

I struggled. With everything. Nothing felt right, and under that vast sky, I began to look inward. One day, I put down my camera, sat on a rock, and cried. I cried because I didn’t tryst myself, didn’t trust my vision, didn’t know if I even had a vision. I cried because I didn’t know what else to do. I was reminded of the words of songwriter Bruce Cockburn, who admits to “ranting in self doubt.” I did my fair share of ranting.

I wanted to give up. I wanted to keep going. I loved what I was doing. And I hated it.

Then another curious thing happened: a series of images gradually found their way to me. They lined themselves up in an order that depicted my struggle, and I am grateful to them for showing me the path that I have traveled and for hinting at what’s to come. I’m not there yet; I haven’t even figured out where “there” is. But I sense a turn in the right direction.

My profound thanks to Brett Erickson, who led the workshop and without whose patience and support I could not have written these words, or made these images.

  1. Melinda! Beautifully written post; do you mind if we re-blog this on our blog?


  2. I love these photos :-). I understand how you felt, I’m doing a class at the moment and sometimes when we are given an exercise to do my photos are really poor… Flat, 2 dimensional… Soul-less

    Then other times I love them!! I guess we just have to keep on trudging the road, until the great photos outnumber the flat ones!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Barbara. I am glad you found this post; in my experience, trying to shoot for a specific class excercise is very difficult. Maybe it’s from performance anxiety or something! My particular struggles in New Mexico during my class were partly from that, but were mostly from my own artistic struggle of not knowing where it was that I wanted to go with my work. I did keep going (I can be stubborn at times – somewhere in the range of ALL the time!), and seem to broken through the barrier. I hope your own class helps you get where you want to be, and I hope to see you back here on the blog someday!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you for letting me look at you in a different light. The black and white experience is something I can really appreciate. You must never give up. Tom, your woodturning friend.


  1. Pingback: MM34 – Monochrome Madness 34 | Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY

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