Fighting for mediocrity and setting goals. I’m looking at you, 2022.

Maybe I’m afraid of change. Not afraid exactly, I just don’t like it. Change equates to complication and I guess that’s what I really have issues with. I prefer simplicity. I want things to work – effortlessly – and when they do, I’m at my creative best. When they don’t, my creativity runs dry. It’s the reason I’m constantly trying new gear, new accessories, watching tutorials and trying to improve. I feel like I spend about 90% of my time searching for the perfect combination of gear, skill, inspiration, and luck so that I can exist in a productively creative space the other 10% of the time.

I get really frustrated at times, knowing that the images I’m producing are crap, having difficulty executing the small snippet of vision I’ve fought so hard for, only to have it dissipate further with each mediocre click of the shutter. Maybe mediocrity shouldn’t be viewed as a negative. Maybe the production of consistently mediocre work is an acheivement. Consistency in anything is hard to come by – maybe that makes it a more worthy goal.

I don’t expect to ever be a great photographer. But I do hope to document my own life and my own family with sincerity and authenticity. I hope for them to look back on pictures from their childhoods and relive, not only the moments, but also the emotion associated with them. I hope to capture that well. For me, sure, but mostly for them.

I don’t have a single picture of myself with both of my siblings growing up. The few pictures I have from my childhood are only of me. I know my siblings existed in them someplace, but for some reason, my mother cut us each out of the photos. A ziploc bag of oddly shaped cut outs of myself is what I recieved. I look so alone, but I wasn’t. You’d think I was an only child. These pictures don’t represent my life.

I want to give my kids a complete picture. One that tells the whole story. A story that includes sofa cuddles, family vacations, grumpy holidays (and good ones too), board games on rainy days, and our famously unplanned “Hartman Family Adventures,” just to name a few. I want them to have a visual history of their lives, of where they come from. 

What an amazing medium photography is! I love words, but a picture is worth a thousand of them, right? 

As I have pondered what 2022 holds for me creatively, I’ve also reflected on what 2021 offered. The truth is that this year was creatively dry for me. I wasn’t really inspired to shoot. I didn’t have much of a desire to pick up my camera at all.

That said, earlier this month, I got my new iPhone and it has been a game changer. Not only does it allow me to get shots of my camera averse family, I’ve also been continually surprised by the image quality and the ease of use, not only taking pictures, but in editing them as well. There’s no doubt that it’s a tool for creatives. 

So, I’ve decided to do something bold for 2022 and start the year off by using ONLY my iPhone 13 Pro for the month of January. And I’m excited about it. Less pressure, less decisions and frankly, way easier to take anywhere. It’s weather resistant, offers three separate lenses with pretty wide apertures, and I really want to learn how to use it to its fullest potential. I do that best when I limit myself. I’ve basically already started as it’s been my favorite camera all month and the only camera I used on my recent vacation. I know it will have limitations, but I’m cool with that. Working within limitations is a great way to grow as a photographer.

2021 was all about gear but 2022 will be all about photography. See you then.

P.S. I can’t wait.

*All photos taken with my iPhone 13 Pro.

2 responses to “Fighting for mediocrity and setting goals. I’m looking at you, 2022.”

  1. I relate to so much of this. I’m excited to see what 2022 has in store for your photography. Many many great shots I’m sure. That’s so cool that the iPhone camera has worked out so well for you. Although I did buy a new camera recently, my goal is to make 2022 about photo projects, prints, etc. Make it about the creative process and the work.

    And btw, that line “I don’t expect to ever be a great photographer.” that’s a lie, you are a great photographer. I always enjoy the shots you share.


  2. Thanks for that. I appreciate it. I too, would like to focus more on the making of photographs and prints.

    Liked by 1 person

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