The seaweed is always greener, in somebody else’s lake. You dream about going up there but that is a big mistake…. Sebastian, The Little Mermaid
I am a little bit enthralled with the thought of mermaids. The Little Mermaid is probably my favourite Disney movie ever. I’ve created mermaids before and I have no doubt I’ll keep creating them as they are part of the fairy tales and folk lore I grew up with. I would like to eventually do an underwater shoot where I can create my mermaid without having to create the underwater scene in Photoshop.
A while ago, I did a portrait shoot for my friend Jenny. I had a completely different concept in mind which will eventually come to life. I just haven’t been able to wrap my head completely around it yet. By the time we got around to shooting, we had consumed a few champagnes and Jenny, being the shy wallflower she is, donned a pink wig and posed for some photos that I wasn’t expecting to take but we had fun with them.
A few days before, I had gone out into my garden and taken a photo of a bird on my birdbath, enjoying the water. It’s a huge birdbath and I get a myriad of birds coming for a drink and a bath constantly. I love the wildlife it brings in. That’s when this idea came to mind. So, I put Jenny in the bird bath, along with an exploding bottle of champagne, cork flying through the air and of course, a mermaid tail. Sometimes you just want to do something for fun and this was one of those times. A simple but fun concept.
I find myself getting so caught up in perfecting my art, that I sometimes lose sight of the reasons why I do it which takes away some of the enjoyment. I compare my work to other people’s and my comparisons are never kind to me. I am so critical of myself and always think that other people can do so much better than me. I know I’m not the only artist who thinks this. We’re all very hypercritical of ourselves. What we have to keep in mind is that when we look at something as closely as we do when we create it, we’re not looking at it through fresh eyes and we SEE every single flaw because we KNOW every single flaw. The average person looking at our work doesn’t know it so isn’t looking for it.
We need to stop sometimes and remind ourselves of the reasons we do what we do. I do it to tell the stories that are in my heart and soul. When I am working on a photo, I lose track of time and space. I’m totally engrossed in the story I’m telling. I love what I do and I have to occasionally step away from the piece and view it again a little bit later with fresh eyes and a kinder attitude. Then I can go in and just have some fun with it.
I think we all need to just listen to our hearts and not our heads. My head can be very self critical and I don’t deserve that. None of us do. Our work may be different to someone else’s but that doesn’t necessarily mean better or worse.. Just different. Life’s too short not to enjoy what you do. I’m so glad I love what I do so much. Here’s to the grass not being greener in somebody else’s lake. Our own is pretty good too. After all, to quote my favourite crab Sebastian, life really is the bubbles..