Tuesday 26 June 2007

The eternal dilemma

I’ve done it again – spent the last six days clear in the darkroom – on several days for over five hours a day.

I’m feeling crabby, tired, dispirited. Yesterday I was on the verge of deciding I was mad to keep this darkroom going and packing it all up. I feel like a mole coming out into the light, unsure & unwilling about scuttling back in, yet disoriented and disheartened by the daylight world.

Yesterday I had a bad day, too much guesswork (because basically tired and fed-up), taking short cuts, getting my inevitable come-uppance.

So, the dilemma: I am continually ahead of myself, and yet never catching up. It is important to print my best pictures, the best I can, and I need time to do this, and yet it is also important to be producing new work. When I am printing I feel I am not really progressing (which of course, is not true). When I’m taking new pictures I’m always aware of the backlog of negatives to be dealt with. I do the printing in ‘phases’ – try to get as much done as I can – and now I am aware of the approaching school holidays which will eat up my printing time. Then I will keep up with a certain amount of picture-taking but always, always behind myself.

I know the lesson: always limit the time in the darkroom to three days a week at most, around four hours a day at most. Breaks within that time. Slow and easy – the methodical way that is, as it happens, quite natural to me.

Not to run ahead of myself, expect too much of myself, be so unforgiving of errors I bring upon myself, my harshest critic.

Breathe in, breathe out, take a break. No hurry. There’s time enough for everything..…And yet time passes like a whirlwind!