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A Photographer’s Progress (2) – The Setting Stage

There are more than one connotations to “setting”, but they all evoke something flat, even, steady, serious, harmonious, whether it is a mountain, the making of a film or a large table full of everything, notably stacks of appetizers such as cheese fingers, meatballs and ham rolls toothpicked to death. Once the Romeo and Juliet balcony scene has reached its climax, photographically speaking, what follows is a certain mind setting, a sort of an existential sigh, an intermission.

And, while building castles in the air, there comes a decisive moment when you realize that some pictures are somehow different from the others, although they may closely resemble, presenting roughly the same objects, being taken in similar light conditions, a.s.o. You can’t put your finger on it, but there’s this definite sense of subtlety, like a breeze suddenly blowing from nowhere, scattering the petals of blossoming apple trees in an orchard. You chase away the temptation of waxing poetic and take another squint at them. Either some photos are simply better, or the others are worse, one of two things. Having said that, you become aware of the fact that the former bystanders’ admiration exercises, which you must admit to have basked in like a happy camper, suddenly start to annoy you. They obviously came from laymen for whom everything was beautiful beyond any distinctions or discernment – a merry band that sounds more like a tragic chorus. There is something suspicious in the air, which makes you grow rather suspicious yourself.

You’re not so enthusiastic about taking photos any longer, and even seem to start giving things a little more thought. Happiness has dwindled in the wake of the blind falling-in-love stage. Having stopped hovering, you start touching the ground and even feel pebbles in your shoes. Questions besiege you: How is this possible? How come you can’t get your eyes off some pictures and care less about others. As if waking up the morning after a wedding ceremony high, you realize that photography is neither a sprint, nor a dash to catch the bus, but an ultra-marathon, which, on top of everything, has to be run somewhere in the mountains with your whacked meniscus sending shrill signals to the brain past the very first bend. An angst bordering on panic takes over. You go through a setting stage if not become the stage itself.

The blissful state prior to the fall, when the sheep billed and cooed with the wolf, fades into a memory and that’s because the snake of doubt slowly creeps into your soul: What if not all my photos are good? And if they’re not, how do I sift the wheat from the chaff to keep the really good ones? If I did away with the failures, what would I be left with? And what if, the next day, I started loving the seemingly worthless shots, as it actually happens every so often? All these “what-ifs” start swirling in your head and cutting the ground under your feet. Wasn’t it nicer when, perched on a peak far away from all these struggling “what-ifs”, you were blind, dumb and deaf to the noises of the world?

You end up tortured by questions and look around for an answer or at least a thread that leads you somewhere, be it the ball at the entrance, a sweater, or a sock, anything that makes some sense. Because the thread by itself…

evolutia unui fotograf 2