Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

Maintaining Trust In The Process

Mar 21, 2019 - Ricardo Nagaoka

Photography is hard. It’s really, really hard. Anyone who makes images diligently can tell you that just as in any other artistic medium, process is indelibly crucial. You can’t dig deeper if you don’t let yourself fail a couple hundred times. But here’s the part that can be incredibly frustrating at times: process is inherently invisible in photography. There is no artist’s hand. The machine is perfect, and in its perfect rendition I find myself lost. It doesn’t help that at a certain level, we all acknowledge that viewers consume images faster than ever before. Content consumers, scrolling and tapping, any corner of the world at your fingertips, with a diminishing amount of regard for how we consume images? Is that all we are?


These thoughts have, and still do at times, throw me into one of those existential crises we’re all familiar with. And I ask myself why, why do I subject myself to this?


I have been blessed through the years to be surrounded by passionate people, who’s own curiosities push themselves, and by proxy, each other. We try to remind each other to simply trust the process, yet the toughest part isn’t the first cultivation of this mental mantra; it’s the maintenance of this trust that has stopped me dead in my tracks. I wish I could say I learned the first time, but it’s happened over, and over, and more times than I’d like to admit.


When you look at a contact sheet, or download a day’s worth of images from your camera’s card, and you see that 99% of it feels like the same pictures you made in Photo 101, what do you do then? Or when you realize that the picture you are so proud of making turns out to be a subconscious, carbon copy of what you’ve already seen 12 different people make? What then?


These are the very moments I have to remind myself to let go of my tendencies to overthink and over-complicate, go with the intuition and perspective that got you to a certain point and trust the process. I absolutely, without question, love photographs, and for that I do subject myself to these anxieties, I still keep making pictures, and pictures keep finding their way to my heart, because it has always proven itself to be worth it.