So much of the photographic process for me happens when I'm on the move. There is something hypnotic and cleansing about travel, especially on quiet roads. With that in mind our latest music playlist is : "Music for photographers on the road to somewhere." Obviously like any of these short playlists of music there really is no 'right' or 'wrong' as far as what qualifies as the right music. For me personally I love road music ranging from steady folk, ambient, to slower thoughtful instrumental sounds. So with this mix I included a variety of sound palettes with some bias towards American folk. Over the years I have done a lot of traveling around my country and along the way I have learned some crucial lessons about my photographic process. I'd like to share a few guidelines I have when I am on the road to somewhere:
1. It's not where you are going, it's where you are
A lot times I am so desperate to get somewhere that I fail to miss what's right around me that I may be taking for granted. For example, maybe my goal is to get to some town on a map but I am not paying enough attention to the land I must go through to get to that town. As a result I may miss some opportunities to shoot. Making this mistake has led me to drive hours to the town only to not make any good work once I get there because I don't feel as compelled photographically as I thought I would.
2. Never waste good light
I have made the mistake many times of passing through a landscape or town where the light for whatever reason is truly stunning and I think, " Well if I keep going maybe there will be a better spot with better subject matter up ahead." And sadly, that special light soon goes away and never returns that day. Now when the light is special to me I pull over as soon as possible and make photographs.
3. If you see something you are intrigued by, TURN AROUND AND GO MAKE A PHOTO
When you are on the move it's much easier to keep going than it is to pull over or turn around and get out your cameras and go photograph something. I've passed a lot of things that intrigued me but failed to stop because I lacked courage or felt lazy or tired at the moment. Lately I have put an end to this mindset. I treat every feeling inside me as one worth exploring and at a minimum going back to at least consider making a photo.
4. Keep returning to the places that intrigue you
I think this is an idea most photographers are aware of but sometimes it's hard to do. As photographers, when we have the free time it's often more tempting to go somewhere new but I've realized that returning to a place I've been is in fact like "going somewhere new." Everything is transient. And when we become more intimate with a place we notice those changes more, and therefore are able to express a new idea about a place we have been. In essence. our relationship to the work in some ways becomes more intimate and compelling.
I hope you find these ideas helpful and if you have something you have learned about being on the road as a photographer that has made your work better, please share in the comments section below. And I hope you enjoy and are inspired by the music!