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One Four Challenge – Struggles

As a part of April revisiting One Four Challenge, for this week I decided to share edits that gave me most trouble. Some were time-consuming, others were dead-ends of my creativity and  some I still consider cheating.

***

Week Two of November falls into the last category – “cheats”. One of the first times I used FotoSketcher, I had the hardest time deciding to stick with it. Imitating art is just that, imitating. Or not? I like this final result, softness against the dark background, almost abstract crop, painterly texture. It would be hard to connect it with the original, but does that make it photography? Or digital art? Or something completely else? I struggle with the concept of digital enhancement, not in general, but concerning my images. Because, I feel with all the post-processing, I am masking the lack of quality. So, the struggle still remains…

Week 2

November Week 2

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Week Two of December brings completely different set of struggles. My own personal taste against the others. I was sure this one would be received well, but it was not. There was no real negative feedback, people just weren’t as ecstatic about it as I expected. So, you start doubting yourself. Am I good enough? What is good enough? Should I do things to get people to like me more? Should I stick to my own creative path? I am sure we all struggle with the same doubts and I do believe we need to question ourselves for many reasons…to improve, grow or just reassure our own believes. This one helped me to realize I’ll never be good enough for everyone. I just need to be good enough for myself.

                Week 2

December Week 2

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Next bit of struggle came with Week 4 of January. This one was well received and I like it very much. The struggle was more of a technical nature. As I use very simple editing programs, sometimes I need to work very hard to create something I imagined beforehand. Trying to tell a different story with every edit can sometimes pose a challenge in itself. Being a storyteller, I always push for another dimension with my images, I want my viewers to see a story in the background. So, I decided to create an underwater image…ever the overachiever. I pulled it out, but the work I put into it is not easily observed in this final version. So many layers, concerns about lightning, imaginary movement, colors…it wasn’t the easiest edit I’ve done. But, another valuable lesson came out of it – when you work so hard, you cherish it the most.

               Week 4

January Week 4

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Another technically challenging image, this time from February Week Four. I worked very hard on this one, trying to shift focus from the gates to the space behind, bicycles and pots of flowers. I used GIMP, PicMonkey and PixlrExpress, jumping from one to the other in countless steps, forgetting what I was doing along the was. That is one of the reasons I rarely explain my post-processing, it is hard to keep track of various things I do. Regardless those countless steps, I still don’t quite like it. When I compare it to other versions from February, I can appreciate it more, because I see clearly what I wanted to do. But it doesn’t stand on its own. Too dark, too yellowish…you can’t really rescue something that was never there. That is another lesson.

               Week 4

February Week 4

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I was very vocal about my dislike for the March image, like somebody else forced me to edit it in four different ways. I hit the rock bottom in Week Two, as I was desperate to produce something beautiful and different. I worked for days and was getting nowhere, this one falls into a “dead-end” category. The biggest thing that lacked in this edit was me. My creativity, imagination, everything went out the window. The only thing that was left was determination. So, I walked away from it, came back and managed to do something with it. To this day, it is probably one image I like the least, but it opened the way for probably my favorite edit in the later weeks. This is the lesson I learned many years ago – never give up. When you face the wall, climb. When you fall, get up. When you are tired, take a break. But keep going, no matter what. And in your darkest hour, when everything is far from reach, never stop dreaming.

                 Week 2

March Week 2

***

It was never my intention to turn this post into a psychological analysis of post-processing side-effects. But as I set down to write it, the wisdom of my elders washed over me like cherished memories wash over doubtful souls…

Everything in life is a lesson. You just need to learn from it.

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21 thoughts on “One Four Challenge – Struggles

  1. I really like your work. OK, here is my experience: I was a huge Velvia/Cibachrome fan. I was one of the last hold outs on digital because I could never achieve the same level of clarity as with slides. Plus I had a bad attitude about “shopping” photos so much. You have to be perfect for slide film and I liked that challenge albeit expensive. Digital has come a long way however and I finally succumbed. Then I had a paradigm shift in my thinking. While I still try to get as perfect a shot as I can, the beauty of photo editing is the vast creativity it gives you. And for FREE! I was never as good with B&W as I was with color (color just speaks to me) but as a chemist, I did enjoy the darkroom work too. That added another layer of expertise and creative eye that I liked. Look, Ansel Adams never took a photo he didn’t dodge and burn to get just right. We now do that with digital tools instead of the darkroom and for zero cost once we purchase the software (and many good programs are free). So I have learned to embrace these tools and play with ideas I never could have before digital because of the time, money and resources it took with film. I have taken shots that I thought were otherwise crap and made pretty neat pieces out of them with apps. So give yourself a break. Photo edit programs are just a different set of tools in your creative toolbox. It is your creative eye coming through that is important, not how you got there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are so right Lore – we can learn so much in our own journeys and in this challenge.
    I’m sure many of us have had weeks where we don’t quite ‘get there’ – something I love though, is that each of us who started any given month, also finished it!
    Thoroughly enjoyed reading this post and as always your thoughts and approach.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, I actually teared up a little with the last struggle. It is an interesting world where when you are struggling you feel so alone, but when you open up you realize others have similar doubts about their own work.

    This challenge in general is rather interesting, in that, we put the pressure on ourselves, we choose the image, we choose the edits… and yet sometimes it is so *challenging* when the edit isn’t going our way, or the image lacks inspiration. But as you have stated, we learn from it. We learn what we like, what others like, and we gain more experience with post-processing. And while we are post-processing we tell ourselves, next time I’m taking a photo of something I’ll avoid this so that I don’t have to try to fix it in post-processing.

    Great post! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Really enjoyed reading your post, Loré. I like your description of your struggles and certainly can relate to them. I like that you really reflected on what you have learnt, how you work, and what you have taken away from this challenge. No babbling there at all! And you know I’ve wanted to tell you for a while that some of the steps you explained in past months helped me and gave me ideas. So I learned through your processing too… Thank you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think editing four images is a struggle because there is always a road block in creativity. I think some of your struggles maybe now could be overcome as you learn more. I am also one to say have the right tools for the right job and I am glad you mentioned the limitations of the editing programs because there is a limit no matter what you use.

    Liked by 2 people

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