Lida and her sister, yesterday. © Ciara Leeming.
It’s almost a year since I finished my MA. This is kind of weird: in some ways it feels like a lifetime ago and in other ways in feels like the past year has flashed past without me noticing. The creative process for me is not a gentle, easily-navigable road – it is potholed and frustrating and filled with periods of intense self-doubt and ennui. This has certainly been my experience over the past 12 months: after what felt like a huge shift right at the end of the course, where I had one of those moments where things seem to all come together just in time, the period since has been one of plateaus, of disappointments, let-downs and photos that just won’t come. Hardest of all has been the sense of working in a vacuum – I can see the attraction of groups of photographers forming collectives if only for this reason…while I’m too control-freaky to be a natural collaborator I do like getting the opinions of others about new approaches, aims and possible edits. Sometimes I think I have lost the ability to tell which images work – a lack of confidence which then makes me doubt my intuition when shooting and means what few images I do take continually disappoint. This sounds like whinging but it’s actually not – I’ve come to realise that this is all part of the process, and really quite common; necessary even. Despite the doubts on that front I have started to really feel lately that I’ve developed really good relationships with the people I’m photographing, some of whom I’ve now known for 18 months. I have a year left before I must report on my Arts Council Roma grant – lots of shooting time so hopefully the good stuff will come and the confidence will start to grow from these rather wobbly but quite deep and well-meaning foundations. We shall see.