Confidence, or the lack thereof and back again

I'm a firm believer in confidence.  Not being cocky and annoying, but rather an understanding that you can handle the situation and the things that come up, because usually you can. Let's be honest, unless it's a skill that you need intense training for, the average person could probably figure most things out.  I remember a few years ago my father talked my friend Mark and me through replacing the dishwasher in my parents kitchen.  My father was sick at the time so he directed from a chair across the room, but the point of the story is that it wasn't nearly as complex as I would have thought.

Since the end of 365 Portraits about two and a half months ago, I've been shooting less than I had been.  I'm probably still shooting a lot compared to most people, but still less than I was.  This makes sense, since I've released myself from the insanity of finding a new subject each day. I've been shooting for clients and doing my own projects which you end up seeing here on OTP, but at the same time I can't help but feel like I was losing my edge.  You know, that 'thing' you get when you're really in the flow and in practice.  I was shooting so much last year that shooting felt more natural than not shooting, and so when I walked into new situations I had the confidence that I could get what I wanted out of that day's subject, no problem.

As anyone who spent any time with me last week would tell you, I was pretty antsy and nervous leading up to Friday.  You see, I had what to me was a pretty big shoot for a magazine cover last Friday, and lately I haven't been all that excited with the quality of my work. I felt like I was getting predictable and boring and repetitive and all the other adjectives that an artist never wants applied to them.  I was seriously worried that I had lost 'my touch' as it were and that I would fall flat on my face in front of a photo editor, makeup people, hair people, wardrobe people, the subject's publicist, my assistant, etc.

However, once I got there and started shooting (After the subject was 45 minutes late and then another hour waiting for the style people to do their thing) all of that melted away and I realized how much of a rush I get taking portraits, especially when I get in my "ooo, that's it!" giddy mode. I love the flow of the moment and the transitive nature of the whole situation.  I love the fact that I have the subjects complete attention and hopefully their trust.  I just love shooting portraits.  And by the end of the session I had both won over the subject (who I think was a little cranky when she walked in the door) and also won back my own confidence.

I guess this is all to say that I've got to figure out a way to overcome my own fears, or at least find a way to keep them in check.  Like in sports they say that if you think you're going to lose, you probably will. That if you think you're going to screw up, you're more likely to.  It's all about have the right mindset.  I've got to think that I'm going to make art every single time I pick up a camera. 

Tonight I edited down the 400+ shots to my 20 or so selects.  I thenopened up my favorites and played around with some post-processing.  And you know what?  They're not bad.  In fact, they're pretty good. I'm very proud of a number of them.  Maybe at some point I'll have the right to show them do you, but for the moment you'll have to trust me. <grin>

So for now I'm pretty confident, and say "Bring it on!" to any challenge.  I guess we'll just have to see how long it lasts.