A few days into my visit to Greece, I realized I had completely gotten into my own artistic head. And not in a good way. It was 1994 and only my second adventure outside of the States. It was the classic sophomore jinx. The second album curse. After my trip to Italy the year prior, was I too a one hit wonder?
For the first couple of days, it certainly felt that way. I had brought my trusted camera friends, and as much film as I could carry in my lead bags. I was ready. Too ready, it seemed.
I found myself thinking the creatively deadly question to myself, “What will people like?”
It was almost that I had forgotten the thing that brought me the joy that my photography did. I never in the past made it for anyone else. I always just made photographs that pleased me. If anyone else liked them, then that was just gravy.
But as I found myself struggling to make an image that I was happy with, I decided that what I really needed to do was step back. Breathe. Put the camera away.
And that’s just what I did. I left my cameras back at the villa every day I went out. I just enjoyed the beautiful world around me. The people. The sounds. The language. And after three days of self-imposed camera banishment, I decided to try again. But carefully this time.
I had my cameras in my backpack, but I didn’t take them out until I saw something that inspired me. And even then, I put the question of anyone else seeing the photographs I was making out of my mind. These were for me.
And slowly, I did get my groove back. I could begin to sense that feeling again I would get when I knew an image I had made might be special. This was in the days of film and it’s something I do miss about the process back then of not being able to see you photographs for days or weeks sometimes after you make them. It made you trust yourself as an artist. You really had no other choice.
I made this photo on the island of Mykonos, during one of my walks around the island. Definitely not a “classic” Greek Island picture by any stretch. But I loved the intersecting geometry before me. And I’m a big fan of doors and windows as well.
It felt a little like what I had just been going through. Just pick a door. Don’t worry about picking the wrong door. Trust yourself. Be open to something unexpected.