I am one of many who have moved to photography in their middle years after completing most, if not all, of a career in a scientific field, be it medicine, engineering, chemistry, or other technical field.
All of us consider our earlier life achievements as superior to any work generated later in life, particularly like the field of art. Mastering the camera was all that mattered. Right....??
It was my perception and belief that I just could not "reduce" myself to the point of saying I didn't know what I was doing in this new field of art. After all, I could make art just by sitting down with pencil and paper. What's so hard about art?
It was not until I acknowledged that I just didn't know what I was doing that I began to make headway in this new and difficult field.
To move to a new field like photographic art meant I had to return to that painful time when I was learning a new profession and had to admit I didn't know where I was going, what there was to learn, and where all this would lead me.
I had to finally admit that I had to be lead by the hand, just like in my earlier medical training.
Pursuing a profession in art proved no less difficult from my early medical training (except no one is hurt if I make a bad print!). Art turned out to be much different from my previous scientific training. It asked me to be subjective and personal about my work. Wha...??? It's not supposed to be about me!! Really??
It was filled with too much subjectivity to be well tolerated at first. In fact it took me a good number of years to accept that fact and to see how subjective and personal about many aspects of life.
Slowly I began to see more clearly the difference between the objective and the subjective, the known and the believed, the seen and unseen, that which is conscious and that which wells up from the unconscious.
I had to be lead by the hand...again. It was harder to admit than earlier in life.
It was very hard to admit I needed to be lead by the hand as I did earlier in life in the pursuit of my initial career. It was too hard to admit I didn't know what artistic expression meant.
I now know that I had to be lead by someone whose experience greatly exceeds my own in a field of expertise that differed greatly from my previous professional experience.
The willingness to suffer decreases as we age. It is easy to learn a new hobby, but to go through the suffering it takes to achieve mastery in a new field is not well tolerated as we get older. It is easy to get to the proficiency level of a new hobby. It is harder to say I want to push myself through the critical feedback about my work and push my art farther.
What does farther mean? I don't know, but it seems mostly a journey without a predetermined end.
Pushing farther seems what I have done most of my life. Not always, but mostly with the important things.
I have decided there is something important for me to share, regardless whether it is heard or not.
Maybe what we have to share in the last half of our life is the continuation of our own creative life. That means exploring a completely unfamiliar landscape...whether you are an artist or not.