letdown

the party is over…..or , rather i should say, the parties are over…i have no idea how many exhibit openings, after parties, magnum 60th functions i have been to in the last week….but it was a lot…

the lightning speed flurry of almost out of control activity i had in the last four  weeks in preparation for my own show and then rushing to everyone else’s show has totally subsided……..peace….sunset…reflection….i only have a few really easy things to do in the next few days…by saturday i will fly off to london and then to the arles photo festival….but looking at  four days of relative tranquility seems like a vision of a japanese garden…

but you know how it is….whenever big events are over, there is a kind of "letdown"…..not meltdown (although that at times seemed totally possible), but letdown….a loss of energy…..a slight malaise….just a low dipping  curve in the graph of life following extreme efforts….

but everything relatively relaxing is out ahead of me now….soon in london with my best friend….show and hanging with my colleagues at arles….followed by  two weeks at the beach with my family….my heretofore high stress life is now looking very very serene…

but, what will i do ??   will i be smart and catch up on scanning, organizing hard drives, getting pictures in the archive, printing, and  putting up on the wall new prints for the next book or will i totally "waste" this valuable time by riding my bike around town, hanging out with friends, and having long lunches….hmmm, i just do not know….

but i have noticed a quixotic  phenomenon about the way things work for me…when i am way way too too  busy, i get all kinds of things done that i have no time to do,  and yet when i do have time to do all the things i need to do , i get very little done….just does not seem right does it??….

so, how does it work for you??   high speed "putting fires out" marathon leading to the best of what you do or a reasonable  slow pace with a rock solid steady  drumbeat of activity making your work its finest??

Obx_pier

19 Responses to “letdown”


  • Go shoot:)

    I wonder, do you ever just go on the street and shoot? Nothing focused with no story or idea behind it, but random street photography. If I had 4 days of nothing to do, thats what Id do:) Especially in New York.

    Its natural to have those let downs. And its good. You cant be constantly on a high, you’d finish yourself off.

  • Congrats, David on getting through and (I hope) enjoying the past month’s activities.

    Regarding your question, I am reminded of a quote: “If you need something done, give it to a busy person”.

    I think it’s all about inertia. When I’m in a relative down time, even small tasks seem like mountains: too many decisions to make before starting. But when I’m crazy busy, I just need to get all that stuff done and out of the way- I don’t have time to ponder how much time it will take, how many different ways I could get it done. I just choose a path and go.

    Case in point: I’m incredibly busy this month, much more than usual, and yet I finally got my photo website up and running, albeit a little rough around the edges. Plus I seem to be actually spending more time with my kids. Makes no sense but there it is.

    I like Rafal’s answer: “Go shoot”. I think I’ll listen to him, and just keep shooting.

    Have a great trip to London- one of my all time favorite cities.

  • David,
    Just found my way over to your site. I had a portfolio review with you at the Festival of the Photograph and I was a volunteer working with them as well, helped you hang your wonderful prints in YourSpace. Anyway…

    I always get tons more done when I am incredibly busy. Just like Asher says, whenever I have some downtime, even small things seem like mountains.

    Im glad to hear you made it through the 60th fest, I wanted to be there so badly but couldn’t be. Hope it was an amazing time!

    Matt

  • david alan harvey

    rafal and asher….

    well, i never do not shoot..that is a given…my camera is with me always and i shoot everyday…random….also now my building….

    i love to walk the streets and “play” and hardly a dinner or lunch goes by without me shooting something…

    and good work sometimes comes out of this…not always, but sometimes….

    so, whichever way i go, bike riding or office management, i will be shooting…either from my bike or around the building if i force myself to stay home and get some editing work done…

  • How boring would these 4 calm days seem if you didn’t just have an insane month of building up your appreciation for downtime?

    I definitely function best at more of a “high speed ‘putting fires out’ marathon” pace – especially with my photography. I fear that if I ever stop working for a newspaper to devote myself to long term photo projects, I’ll be too overwhelmed with sufficient time that I’ll never make any progress. I need the chaotic hustle of daily assignments to discipline me into finding/making time for the long term stories. Maybe it’s the same for those juggling other full time jobs and squeezing photography in on the side?

    It would be nice to figure out how to be a more “rock solid steady drumbeat” but, then again, I love the high speed buzz of it all. After a few days of downtime I get bored and restless- itching to jump right back into the “putting fires out” pace. Perhaps just so that I can fully appreciate the next patch of downtime…

  • Hi David.

    I always have a camera with me too, but find I enjoy focussing on stories and projects/themes. I find it hard sometimes to shoot randomly.

    As for procrastination, if I could turn it into a fulltime job I think I’d be a millionaire…

    If I’ve got a heap to do I usually make a list, otherwise I tend to put it off. I think that ties into your recent “business” post. No procrastination problems with a camera in my hand!

    As an aside; do you ever get down to, or have been to, the South Pacific region?

    Cheers Ross

  • The ‘run and gun’ lifestyle can be anxiety-ridden but really fun for me; however, my best work does usually come at a more reasonable pace. It keeps me sane and grounded to work hard but with a drumbeat of activity.

  • Mate,
    I don’t think I’ve ever had a week like the one you are trying to get over, A family that needs attending to,I have a stack of 2 1/4 that I get developed but never seem to get to ,archiving that is waaaaay behind,future trips to plan and current trips to complete,but when I am not doing that I have a beer and think …My god this is sweet!
    BTB Tell Parkey that he needs to get himself a pair of long trousers.
    Cheers Glenn

  • david:

    digestion….breathing….waiting…silencio ;))…

    okay, so when you return from Europe, come visit me and marina and we’ll feed you, treat you to some fine Ontario Ice Wine, teach you some russian (in case you decide to do a workshop there ;)) ), and have a walk around the lake….

    long ago, i realized that work (photographic or written, and before that the painting) comes like the way a storm rolls and gallops over a prairie…and what is more blessed that the work that comes after a storm……the slow, sweet, drip of working after the tumult…silence….

    our door is-ssss open…

    fuck, gotta get back: got a projection due in 2 weeks…

    cheers,
    bob

  • p.s. next time Larry T is in town, you should ask him to shuttle you some fine Ice Wine, or Ontario Pinot, and even though im a loyal californian, those 2 grapey-potables are amazzzzzing :))…

    cheers,
    b

  • ahahaahahahah

    “when i am way way too too busy, i get all kinds of things done that i have no time to do, and yet when i do have time to do all the things i need to do , i get very little done….just does not seem right does it??….”

    i do the same!! ahahahahaha

    for example: now i have lot of work to delivery until next month (weddings for living and to finance my personal documental photo essays work) and at the same time i decided to rebuild from scratch my entire website design and structure with more portfolios compatible with all browsers!!

    and the best part is that i love this kind of rush

  • ahahaahahahah

    “when i am way way too too busy, i get all kinds of things done that i have no time to do, and yet when i do have time to do all the things i need to do , i get very little done….just does not seem right does it??….”

    i do the same!! ahahahahaha

    for example: now i have lot of work to delivery until next month (weddings for living and to finance my personal documental photo essays work) and at the same time i decided to rebuild from scratch my entire website design and structure with more portfolios compatible with all browsers!!

    and the best part is that i love this kind of rush

  • ahahaahahahah

    “when i am way way too too busy, i get all kinds of things done that i have no time to do, and yet when i do have time to do all the things i need to do , i get very little done….just does not seem right does it??….”

    i do the same!! ahahahahaha

    for example: now i have lot of work to delivery until next month (weddings for living and to finance my personal documental photo essays work) and at the same time i decided to rebuild from scratch my entire website design and structure with more portfolios compatible with all browsers!!

    and the best part is that i love this kind of rush

  • ahahaahahahah

    “when i am way way too too busy, i get all kinds of things done that i have no time to do, and yet when i do have time to do all the things i need to do , i get very little done….just does not seem right does it??….”

    i do the same!! ahahahahaha

    for example: now i have lot of work to delivery until next month (weddings for living and to finance my personal documental photo essays work) and at the same time i decided to rebuild from scratch my entire website design and structure with more portfolios compatible with all browsers!!

    and the best part is that i love this kind of rush

  • if you finish everything today what will you tomorrow?

  • Hello, David.
    I’ve got a name for this sensation: emotional hangover. It’s just the same waking up after one (many) night (s) of excess and slowing down after days of hurry. Feels like you’re walking on the moon, someone up above ain’t pulling the strings fast enough and you move like on a bad dream. But, as a real hangover, it just takes a good night of sleep and drinking lots of fluids to make it go away.
    P.S. Like all the others above, the more i’ve got to do, the faster i act, focused, sharp. When i’m calm, everything looks soooo distant.

  • Hey David,
    While you’re here at the beach, may I pick your brain for some book ideas? And you can relax at the same time….
    see ya,
    Mike

  • david alan harvey

    edgard…

    yes, you are right…a hot shower, a good night’s sleep and lots of water might do the trick…

    mike..

    by the time i get to the beach, there might not be much brain left to pick!! but, sure, let’s look at your work and come up with a good book for you…the time is right….

    i do look forward to seeing you amigo…always such a good time…

  • Hi David,

    This is Dan again, your American friend from Paraty em Foco… I hope you remember me.

    I have been perusing around your site and seeing many interesting things that I’d like to comment on. You do have a veritable wealth of opinions, stories, bright moments, dark moments, laughs and frowns… this forum is incredible.

    At any rate, returning to this “topic of contention” … my Mom always told me that “If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.” I’m a last minute guy, too. Perhaps it’s to my detriment, but I always manage to get things done in the nick of time. In my family, there is even a saying: “oh no! you pulled a Danny!” … meaning that you didn’t get your shit together until the last moment and drove everybody crazy but ending up doing something marvelous – okay, maybe I’m adding the part about it ending up something marvelous, but you get the picture.

    On a side note, consider this. I have some friends who are, shall we say, “born well.” Other people call them “trust fund bunnies.” As they don’t have this pressure to produce and succeed and – more than anything – put food on the table, they end up wasting their time with contrived dead-lines for books that nobody cares about but their shrink told them they had to have a book in print by the end of november. They don’t accept those miserly jobs that don’t pay shit but you learn all those crazy tricks and stuff that you only find out with experience, starting at the bottom and working your ass off. In the end, it’s the drive to work your ass off and to produce and work your way up to the top that propels us forward and when you have everything set where is the incentive to shine? I see it over and over again.

    We, as artists who have chosen an alternative way of fending for ourselves in this wicked world never can never just unplug everything and turn on the vacation – those long lunches sitting and chatting with a friend are always punctuated with that unconscious need to sit where the light is the best and to unconsciously search for elements of a great composition. A while ago I was reading an article by one of those great writers whose name is not important right now, but he said that the hardest thing for his ex-wife to understand was that when he’s sitting there just looking our the window he’s working! And that’s what it is: our work creeps into every aspect of our life and we can’t get away from it no matter how hard we try.

    So, this emotional hangover is something natural and we ALL feel it. I felt it after Paraty em Foco, can you believe it! Our little worlds are built on expectations and no matter how much we succeed we can always jump a little higher, isn’t that right? So, after a big project, after those long nights of perspiration, contemplation and cold coffee, we deserve to chill a little bit and take a load off. We gotta “waste” a little time relaxing with friends, talking bullshit, riding our bike and looking at the figures in the clouds, enjoying a well-prepared meal in the company of loved ones. It’s a great life that we have been handed, and you, of all the people that I know, can most definitely take a few moments for yourself and know full well that you most definitely deserve it!

    Um abraço from Rio!

    Dan

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