Revitalizing a Robust Productivity Boom after a Creative Depression

Midway through 2016, I found myself in a Creativity Depression. I could not pinpoint when it started exactly. But when I realized it, there was a correlative Creativity Paralysis. 

Perhaps the Creativity Depression had followed a Creativity Repression that had seeped into the Economy of My Mind. 

While our interiors and corporate commissions continued as usual -- if not growing leaps and bounds over 2015 -- I felt a bit of a void regarding personal projects. Personal projects tend to be the mouth of a fire hose for where I discover new approaches to commissioned work. That fire hose can either be on full blast or barely dripping anything at all. 

If I had to pinpoint any blame, I might highlight the political atmosphere of 2016 into 2017 that dominated news cycles and overwhelmed my Facebook feed as well as a seeming uptick in violent events at home and abroad. I also blame myself for not doing more to ignore/overlook/eschew obsessing over political, national and international events. I tend to shake, lash out, and/or cry when I hear about a mass shooting or terror event. And 2016 offered no shortage of reasons to burst into emotional flames. 

Thanks to some forced changes within my approach to the consumption of the political climate and terror events, I've refocused as much of my attention toward creating new art and I have pushed myself to pursue some personal projects, including a couple photography projects, a few new motion picture projects, an increased amount of donating time to charitable work as well as taking French classes. 

The French classes are in anticipation for another upcoming trip abroad this spring. 

When approaching a personal project, I have found it's always good to start small. So my first project was an open call to friends on Facebook to stop by our studio for a portrait sitting. A few people asked if I bought new toys that I was trying out. "No," I said. "It's to get out of this damn Creative slump I've been in for too too long." 

The lighting I used was actually some of the first lighting I've ever used in my own work, which was a light behind the subject with a reflector in front. It's simple. Easy, and it's used quite a bit in films and TV that I love. 

I'm posting the photos I took for this series below. Roberta Jacobs is the first photo and she was the first to sit for me. Her sitting informed how I would approach the rest of the project, so you'll notice that her lighting is different from the rest. Otherwise, the differences all come from how different skin tones react to the same light. I also I wanted to use a very shallow depth of field of f2.8, which on medium format looks closer to f1.8 or f2. 

My hope for some of my upcoming projects is more of a "sketch" approach. That's to say, thinking about creating art that may not be fully realized but it contributes to a larger piece that will eventually take shape from a bunch of smaller sketches. 

Thanks to (in order of appearance below) Roberta Jacobs, Tabitha and her mother Emily Moskal, our lovely Tina Serafini, (then myself) followed by Kari Johnsrud and Miles Couric. 

Keep an eye out for other personal projects to follow.