How do you stay inspired in the face of rejection? The Los Angeles Latino Film Festival rejected my short film, Carlos Bravo.
You get back to work. You show up. Steven Pressfield says obsessing over rejection or the outcome is a form of resistance. You fight resistance by Turning Pro. The pro reads the rejection, feels it, and shows up the next morning. Some days I buy that, some days I don’t.
Today’s showing up involves reviewing the photos I took at the Watts IV Head Start early last week. My intention was to find relationships in the photos.
Here are my thoughts on relationships from these photos. There is relationship between two people. The students talking to the teacher or racing with each other. There is relationship with the photographer when they pose for me. And, there is relationship with an activity, like the little girl working with her blocks. They could do all three relationships — one another, with me, and an activity. But I like this as an organizing principle of photos. I’ll explore it further.
I think it was Henri Cartier-Bresson who said, and I’m paraphrasing, “Be careful of taking pictures of children because they’re cute and you can get distracted in cuteness and not make a good picture.” I couldn’t find the quote on Google so I might be remembering it wrong. That said, I get the point. Cartier-Bresson and Doisneau have some wonderful photos of children in Paris. When I go out to take pictures of the kiddos at CII’s Head Start sites it’s so easy to focus on the kids' cuteness. I find that I have to give myself an assignment for the photo session to tell a story.
This past week I went to the Compton Head Start. I tried to look for relationships. I also tried to find lines. I wanted the plane of the sensor to be parallel to the plane of the background. That said, I still struggled to find a purpose. I felt like I was just chasing around the kids and snapping dozens of photos. I felt lost. But when I came back to the office I remembered an article I recently read about a woman who was using her edit process to copy what a Fuji x100v. So I thought, what if I picked a color look and did it to all the photos. I went for a hyper saturated social media look. It’s not a technical term and I can’t 100% explain it but it was a look. Below is what I got. Today I’m going to our Stanford Head Start and I’m going to focus on “connection between children and teacher.” I don’t know what that means…yet.
Lately I’ve been feeling like I need to reflect more on my video and photo projects. It's too easy to rush from assignment to assignment, idea to idea, without thinking about what I've learned from each one and what I want to do next. I realize that what drives me to create is learning craft and exploring ideas. Being focussed solely on finishing tasks detaches me from the main reason I got into this game and makes me feel empty.
So I’ve decided to revisit some recent projects and express the challenges I faced, the lessons learned, and some thoughts for a next project.
The first project to review is the video profile I created for Rosanna Perez. We released it in five chapters over social media, but I have it here as one complete story. I love the interview. She was so honest and open. I love the images of her walking around LA.
This reflection made me think that I want to tell the story of a head start teacher who grew up in South LA, teaches there now but attended LMU or another West LA school. I want to see images of her walking through her South LA neighborhood. Some visual images like colorful neighborhood stores, parks, a residential street. The beaches near LMU. I want to use a gimbal to follow her, a slider to connect her to images of her neighborhood and her. I want some pretty city compositions. I want some really wide shots of the city with her walking into frame.