I know this sounds weird but it’s something I noticed has helped me come to better terms with myself. I quit photography recently. And this wasn’t the first time. I’ve given up on it 3 times by now in pursuit of other things. A normal job. Just because I was damn tired and disenchanted by it all. And then to pursue YouTube by creating Barely Evolved Apes. Whatever the reason, I was done, I saw no future in it, and I figured it was best just to give up.
In other words, I was running away from it all.
But oddly enough, the further I ran away from myself, and the more YouTube videos I made, the more I realized how my complete left field turn was informing the art that I abandoned. Those of you who know me know that I’ve never been very confident in my art. I never felt good enough. I didn't really start to like my stuff until about last year, and I’ve been taking pictures for 10 years. Couple that with an inability to find stable work as a photographer and you’ve got a recipe for quitting and doing something else.
I mean, everybody loves video now. So pursuing YouTube was a well thought out decision. Plus, I wanted to challenge myself, and I did.
The more I made videos though, the more I missed my “serious” work. The work that cannot be summed up with cool music or video cuts or movement at all. I missed the silent and more focused type of work that I spent most of my life pursuing. That “emo stuff” I guess some would call it. And so the more I missed it, the more I started dabbling again. But I noticed something changed. Since I pretty much gave it all up, when I dabble, I’m only doing what I know I will like. I’m not wasting time creating things because I think others would like it better. And so naturally, it came down to just a few types of photos:
Pictures of people.
And a whole lot of 35mm film.
(Oh, and I also really like drawing.)
And that’s it. It’s quite simple. I don’t have elaborate setups. I don’t have fun colorful backgrounds. I also don’t have perfect composition. Nor do I care for it. And I gotta say. I quite like this version of me and this version of my art. Oddly enough, I don’t think I would’ve gotten here had I never allowed myself to quit and pursue other things.
I guess it’s true. If you love something enough you’ll always find a way back to it. So I guess I’m back. For now.
by Jason Lam