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I Hate Everything I Create

I can’t wait to look back over the last year and a half and laugh at how my work has taken a deep, deep plunge. I haven’t been able to create like I used to, I haven’t been able to write like I used to, I hate almost everything I create, and I’m just stuck. I can’t wait to get to a point where I’m happy with my work and accept that the downs have to happen. Sometimes, they’re just a few days. And sometimes.. they’re over a year. Which is where I’m at now. Feeling like I’m clawing my way through this. I have dirt under my fingernails and it feels like it’ll be there permanently. And I’m embarrassed because no matter how much I try to wash it off, it just doesn’t go away and everyone can see it. Everyone can see how I haven’t been producing work like I used to.

Drought, April 2017

Drought, April 2017

I made this image earlier this month and decided it won’t see the light of day. I hated it. But it’s exactly how I feel right now.

I have this fear that people will forget about me. Which, when I stop to think about, shouldn’t bother me. I didn’t start creating to be noticed or well-known. I created because I needed to. That’s what I wanna get back to.

I tried the 52 week project, I tried committing to a smaller project, but I realized that I can’t force it. I know that creativity is a muscle that you have to train, but I’m at a point where I’m sore and tired. I just feel lost.

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Take 52 Chances 2017 | Captivity

I’ve been experimenting with different editing techniques for the last two images for the 52 week project, and it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve always been scared of trying photoshop things to make them bigger or smaller than they actually are. I’ve only done it once and I always felt like I got lucky with that one because the next few times I tried it, it didn’t work.

So for the captivity theme, I decided to create something about feeling like you’re stuck in time while everything around you is moving forward. It’s a theme I’ve portrayed in another image a few weeks ago, but it’s something I feel so strongly about that I needed to create this image.
I often feel like I’m not making as much progress as I’d like to be making, and time isn’t something that I can ever get back.. I’m terrified of wasting it.

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What Can’t Be Resurrected, February 2017

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Take 52 Chances 2017 | Paradox

My computer died. I have everything backed up but for about 4 days I did not know what to do with my life. I couldn’t edit, update my blog, or do any work. It’s crazy that our whole lives depend on those machines. I’ll spare you the details of the painful recovery process (recovering my files, I mean) haha but here’s last week’s image for the 52 Week Project!

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The Twists And Turns Of Being, February 2017

This image was a bit of a struggle. Ok, it was a lot of a struggle lol. I had no idea how edit my model’s skin the way I wanted, and I couldn’t find any tutorials on it. I could see the image so clearly in my head but it took multiple edits for me to slowly start figuring it out. I still think it could be done better, and I might revisit it when I have better photoshop skills. But for now, I’m happy with how it turned out 🙂

This week’s theme for the 52 Week Project is poetry, and I’ve already shot my image but didn’t get to edit it yet. I’m trying something new so I’m not sure how it’s gonna look, but keep your fingers crossed! 😀

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Take 52 Chances 2017 | Fear & Uncertainty

Sometimes I create images that suck, and that’s OK.

I’m falling behind on the 52 Week Project, I’m not gonna sit here and make up excuses though cause all there is to it is bad time management. But because I fall behind, I rush to create something.. which ends up kinda awful.
The last two themes for the 52 Week Project were Fear and Uncertainty. With both themes I was excited to shoot the image I had in mind, I felt like I had a good concept. But then I did shoot them and they ended up.. not as great as I hoped they would be. Wait no, they ended up pretty bad. Don’t worry, I’ll show you.

For Fear, I wanted to create something based on a fear I personally have: being stagnant, being stuck in the same place, being anchored. I hate the thought of not moving forward and staying in the same place. So this is why I created this image:

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Heavy Steps, February 2017

For Uncertainty, I wanted to create something based on this:
Everyday, the question remains. We live in this uncertainty that shields our eyes. We can still see, but it’s all so hazy. Is it better to learn to live with the haze, embrace it, and make it a part of who we are? Or should we fight, kicking and screaming, for clarity?

And it totally sucked. Like.. I’m too embarrassed to even show you, that’s how much it sucked. But the point of the project is to create, not to create master pieces every time right?
So while writing this post, I decided to try and make the image work. It didn’t. So I tried again. And I don’t think it did, and there’s no way any of these will ever make it to a gallery show, but here they are anyway. All three versions. Sometimes, I really really suck haha.

This week’s theme is Paradox, and I’m still brainstorming for it but I think it could be really cool.

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Defeated

I’ve fallen down more times than I can count. I mean both metaphorically and literally; I’m clumsy. When I’m face down on the ground I feel like this is it. This is when I finally admit defeat. This is when gravity is my best friend. This is when I stay down. I feel defeated.

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Defeated, December 2016

So many people feel this way at certain points in their lives, maybe more often than they’d like to admit. And honestly, what I’ve come to realize is that you’ve gotta fall. Time and time again. You’ve gotta fall if you wanna get better. Standing still all the time will get us nowhere. So what if we’re covered with cuts and bruises every now and then? If it means that we get back up, and get better, then it’s worth it.

No matter how often I feel like I just want to wave a huge white flag, admit defeat, and surrender to everything that brings me down, there’s another side of me that is just too stubborn to be defeated.

I know that there are people out there who struggle to get back up, and I know what it’s like to want to stay down.

But please, if you’ve fallen and don’t know how to get up, reach out to someone and get help.
You’re worth it.

p.s. I’m not a professional but if you ever just need someone to talk to, email me.
info@amanialshaali.com

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Take 52 Chances 2017 | Chaos

 

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A Reflection of Imperfection, January 2017

Who knew that smashing mirrors can be so much fun? Sticking up shards of glass with rubber garden gloves, however, is not.

When I chose the theme “chaos”, I knew that I wanted to create something that would reflect inner chaos, and that’s why I chose to use a mirror. Initially, I wanted the broken mirrors to be a little more.. organized. I wanted to create perfect pieces, to represent how sometimes when we fall apart, we try to make it beautiful. We try to fall gracefully.

But as I was breaking the mirrors, I realized how difficult it would be to cut break them the way I want to. And I decided to play around with the placement of the mirrors until I felt like they worked with the theme.

This week’s theme is fears, and I’m SO excited to create something based on that. Ideas are already brewing in my head.

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Take 52 Chances 2017 | Memories

I loved this week’s theme. There were so many images I wanted to create but decided to focus on one.

I want to walk
until the road and I 
become one

I want to go back
but there is no way for me to turn around
I can only go straight from here
I can only hope it gets brighter

The road I paved is mine to walk alone

I wrote that while brainstorming and replaying a specific memory in my head. Two years ago in October, I came back from my month long trip in the United States. Sia’s Chandelier was a big hit and it was playing everywhere, especially in New York; which was my last stop before returning home. It was the first time I travel alone, and for an entire month. Coming back was bittersweet. I remember the first shoot I did after coming back, I went out to shoot alone and while driving to the location, I had Chandelier playing on repeat. The road seemed never ending. I was nostalgic. I felt like I didn’t know how to readjust to my life here. It’s not that I hated being here, but I missed that sense of adventure I had throughout the whole month. Hopping from one plane to the other (10 total!) and meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends. I just wanted to go back.

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Wherever I May Wander, January 2017

I also tried to sketch out what I wanted to do before shooting, just to help visualize it better. I’m so bad at sketching but every time I look at it I laugh, so I just had to share it haha.

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Yay for Week 3 of the 52 Week Project! I’m excited to see where this goes 🙂

I’ve created a Facebook group with a bunch of people where I post a new theme every week and we create based on that. I’d love it if more people joined! Leave a comment if you’re interested 🙂

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Take 52 Chances 2017 | Dawn

What was I thinking choosing “dawn” as a theme?

I’ll tell you what I was thinking: my mind is totally blanking out, that means I MUST choose it! I’ll challenge myself!
Yeah.. not the best idea haha. I couldn’t think of what to do and when I did, I did not have time to edit it. I finally did though and it didn’t turn out the way I hoped it would.

I was inspired by a quote that says

Be patient where you sit in the dark, the dawn is coming
– Rumi

And even though a part of me doesn’t want to share this image, I made a commitment and I just wanna show you guys that sometimes.. I kinda suck haha.

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Take 52 Chances 2017 | overcoming

I’ve decided to start a 52 Week Project, and to keep myself motivated I’ve asked some friends to join in and I’m SO excited to get it going. So far, 25 people have joined me! So if you’re interested in being a part of it, please send me a message 😀 the more the merrier.

Last week’s theme was overcoming.

It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do (5 days to be exact), but then when I realized what I wanted to do I shot it and edited it in a day, and I was filled with so much joy. I was reminded of why I’m so in love with fine art photography. It was exhilarating. Yes, I couldn’t get it to look the way it did in my head, but I’m quite happy with the result.

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A Litany For Survival, 2017

So every Sunday we’ll have a new theme, and we have a whole week to create. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be photography, anyone can use any medium they want. Some are writing, some are doing mixed media, and some are doing photography. When I announce the themes, I will also include quotes, pictures, or poems as extra inspiration. The one I posted was this:
“You are not your past. You are the warrior that rose above it to become the example of someone who didn’t survive, but thrived in creating the most beautiful last chapter of their life.”
― Shannon L. Alder

I love that quote. I think overcoming our own fears and blocks is the hardest thing to do, but it’s something I’m determined to do this year. To overcome the negative voices that tell me I should just quit because I’ll never be good enough.
In the words of Sue Bryce: “.. good enough for WHO???

Is there anything that you plan on overcoming this year?

Leave a comment and let me know!