speeding in the unknown

speeding in the unknown, originally uploaded by john m flores.

I'm tired of photography. Of taking pictures. Of landscapes. Of motorcycles. Of people. And of oddities and of irony. I've looked at thousands and thousands of photos. How many can I remember? How many moved me? How many knocked me flat on my ass? The have been plenty of nice ones and neat ones and cute ones and funny ones. And timely ones and well-produced ones and really sharp ones.

Weeks ago I stood in the National Gallery looking at Robert Frank's work for "The Americans". The poorly produced ones, with the camera held at his hip, his subject unaware and out of focus. I studied them, as someone interested in improving his craft does, and appreciated them as fine photography - evocative and emotive and probably a bunch of other words I can't conjure right now.

And then I thought of all the photos that I see on Flickr and elsewhere - the candid shots and the street photography and the like. With these images juxtaposed in my head, I thought, "It's now been over 50 years since 'The Americans'. We haven't gotten very far, have we?"

So that's my struggle. I've seen it all before. Who's doing the stuff that will challenge me? Not shock for the sake of shock. Not technical wizardry. Not pixel-perfect production. No tricks. I need a photo to grab me by the lapels. Stop me in my tracks and make me stare without knowing why. I want to see a masterpiece that hits me at both an emotional and intellectual level. To make me want to give up photography because I'm so not worthy. To bring me to the brink of tears. Where is it dammit?

Yet here I sit, 6 weeks into the new year and I've tripped the shutter over 7,000 times. Seeking something new within this medium that suddenly feels limiting. Stuck with the everyone else taking tiny steps yet hoping for the quantum leap. Everyone's looking in the wrong place. The next big leap won't come from technology. It will come from a different way of seeing. I think.

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