Best of 2017

As always, if you have questions, objections, worries or praise, and especially if you found your picture and want it removed, feel free to contact me. I will get back to you as soon as possible. You can also read my full disclaimer, if you are interested.

 

My friends, it is done! I have finally finished editing my whole backlog of a whopping 146 rolls and I now have exactly 0 rolls left to edit! Hooray! The last few days I just spent all day editing, because I finally wanted to get this whole thing out of the way! I actually finished developing this batch at the beginning of 2018 and I’ve basically procrastinated since then. I just couldn’t face editing all of those rolls and I will certainly learn from that mistake for my next backlog. And indeed while I was twiddling my thumbs and not editing pictures I definitely amassed another backlog of undeveloped rolls that I will tackle after a well-deserved break! And this time I’ll edit as I develop, since that really seems to be the part that I dislike the most. It’s nice to finally see the pictures, but I could definitely do without all the dust-spotting, oh dear, it was such a battle!

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

Surprisingly it turns out that 2017 was a good year photographically, although it didn’t feel that way while I was actually living through it. We went on several trips, to Madrid, Barcelona and Paris which of course helped a lot and I was working on a couple new project on the side that will probably show up on the website soon enough. Halfway through the year I actually also found something that helped immensely with my chronic pain which turned my world kind of upside down too!

The strange thing was that despite all the good work I was producing I felt like I was stuck and not really making much progress. In part this was because I wasn’t really developing much and amassed this backlog, but it also had to do with the fact that the place where we live isn’t exactly the best for the kind of photography I do. I mostly shoot street with the occasional documentary project on the side and for that we definitely live in the wrong place. I kinda manage to get stuff at certain times of the year, but it’s hard work and involves lots of walking in circles. It’s also a very specific kind of street photography that works here and it occasionally bores me to death. While I still lived in Berlin I used to shoot street because it was fun and enjoyable, but over the last few years shooting in this small tourist town it all became such a difficult grind! 2017 was probably the most frustrating year for me in that respect and it’s unsurprising that half of my favourite pictures of the year were taken on trips.

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

Finally, after much back and forth I decided that it was time for a change. Instead of walking in circles and getting more and more frustrated I decided that I would actually start doing photography that was more suited to this place. I resisted it for a long time and was always trying to force this place into being something that it is not: A good place for street photography. I was so focused on this one thing that I couldn’t really see this place for what it really is. We have amazing landscapes around here and instead of focusing on those I tried to make this place into something it was not. That could only lead to frustration! So, I started going up into the mountains with different cameras to explore something entirely new in the woods there. It was all centred around the mountains, trees and the woods and I got some promising first results, but I soon realised that starting a new project while I still had so much unfinished old stuff would only cause me problems. And that’s how I ended up developing all these rolls by the beginning of 2018.

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

Since then I actually got sidetracked in many different ways. I went back to my hometown to work on one of my eternal documentary projects and that never is a particularly enjoyable experience. I’ve been working on it for years and it has been resisting quite a lot. And since my hometown definitely isn’t my personal happy place I didn’t really want continue working on that project right away after returning. Then a couple months later I actually got to meet one of my long time photographic heroes and had the chance to show him some of my work. I was so happy to get the opportunity, but the outcome was entirely disappointing. Pretty much the only thing he had to say about my work was that I should get a digital camera. You can imagine that after such a “glowing review” I was just left hanging in mid air, somewhat deflated. It was a valuable experience though, since I got a good insight into the world of commercial documentary photography and didn’t really like what I saw there to be honest . Other things said were for example that he can judge the merit of a photobook in 5 seconds, which is basically what he did with my work. 5 years work discarded in 5 seconds. Oh well.

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

For the last few years I was kind of operating under the assumption that one day I might get a break in the documentary world, since my work is usually way too documentary for art galleries. Turns out I’m also too artsy to fit in with the documentary crowd and they essentially don’t even understand what I’m trying to do. That’s kinda disappointing, but in retrospect I am also grateful for the experience. More sane people would probably throw the towel at this point and cut their losses, but I have never listened to the nay sayers and I will definitely not start now! 7 years ago I got a rejection letter from a fancy art school saying that my work showed no potential. I have since then had 12 exhibitions, had my work published on 3 continents and I even had a picture hanging in a photo festival this year – all without going to art school! That rejection letter couldn’t stop me and neither will another 5 second judgement.

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

Nevertheless I decided to take a bit of a break after that experience. I’ve been working so hard on my photography for years that I neglected some of my other interests. I wasn’t really in the mood for dust-spotting 146 rolls worth of pictures after having my work dismissed so casually. And I couldn’t really face working on the very project that had already ended up on the reject pile before it was even finished. So, I began drawing and painting again. It was nice to make things up instead of going out into the world to find them. It was nice to do things without judging them much, just having fun for a while and making stuff not because it was supposed to meet any kind of standards. Having fun is something we tend to forget when we get too focused on the outcome and this definitely happened with my photography. Trying something new allowed me to break free of that. And since I was getting into all sort of new stuff I even began making YouTube videos and started making music again after many years. Basically I had a whole lot of fun to recharge and it worked well for me. And this is where we end up right at the outset of this post: After recharging and having lots of fun I finally managed to get through that whole big backlog that kept holding me back. I’m happy with the pictures I found there and keep wondering how it can all have felt so bad while I was taking these pictures. I guess I really needed that break!

And now I feel like I can finally tackle that project again that I’ve been avoiding for a year. I already edited all the new rolls I shot for the project last year and built my new enlarger light source and timer, so that soon I can start on printing all the remaining pictures. Before I do that though, there is the 2018 backlog that needs to be tackled. And this time I won’t wait 1.5 years before I get on with it! I promise! Enough talk though, let’s get on with some more pictures! This time I didn’t cut the selection down too much, since I was just happy with what I found. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

© Lilly Schwartz 2017

 

Leave a Reply