Sometimes the work of an artist is simply to be persistent; keep at it. Follow through on that little spark of an idea that awakens us at night; pursue that little ‘idea’, no matter how trivial, how distant it seems. That trigger is where art begins. All art.
I suppose this point may be made more clearly in reverse; sometimes it’s easier to simply think ‘yeah, that would be neat’, but never actually follow up when we receive an idea. It’s always too easy to conjure up excuses not to do something, rather than actually take a single step in the direction that calls us; something akin to what they say about evil and good men doing nothing.
As an artist, when you notice that little spark of an idea, that trigger that calls your attention, no matter how briefly, give it your attention; make an effort to follow that story, that path, that rhythm, that idea, and see where it takes you; that journey is what art is. Don’t “do nothing”.
The idea of a photo like this has been bouncing around in my head for years now; Mt. St. Elias, after dark, with a night sky packed full of stars, and the faintest of glows from our favored star, the sun, lighting the mountain. Yet there were so many reasons why I never took this photo; Mt. St. Elias is hard to get to, and costly, and when you do visit, the summer sky doesn’t get dark enough anyway. Further, in summertime, the alpenglow is on the far side of the mountain, which would mean either shooting the shaded and unlit mountainside, or camping on a glacier (even harder and costlier to get to) on the mountain’s northern side. So, for these and so many other reasons, this photo remained nothing more than a fantasy. I thought ‘oh yeah, that’d be neat’, but never followed up.
Finally, last month, I set off on an adventure that included a very singular focus; I wanted to shoot a photo of Mt. St. Elias, aglow under a night sky.
Don’t do nothing.