In March of 2008, scientists from Georgetown University released the findings of a study offering proof that moths retain memories gained as caterpillars throughout the transformation of metamorphosis into adulthood. You can read more about this here, here and here. This amazing process has always intrigued mankind and has been the subject of much speculation. The fact that memories are retained throughout this period of extreme morphological change is simply incredible.
I bring this up because I was thinking about how we as photographers, and artists, are continually required to change in order to grow and stay current in the marketplace. For many people, this can be a terrifying aspect of the business because we often fear that the connection to where we’ve come from will be lost; our artistic history so-to-speak. It is easy to find a comfortable place, where things are moving along very steadily (kind of like a caterpillar chewing leaves), and suddenly feel 'the pull' toward a different direction, which threatens to change everything. What do we do? Do we choose to ignore the little voice, or do we jump into the rabbit-hole with both feet and hope for the best? Personally, I believe that a caterpillar that refuses to grow up becomes bird food.
As each year goes by, I feel more and more comfortable following those little voices. I’ve basically given myself just a couple of loose guidelines to go by: 1.) I want to continue to focus on nature and conservation related topics. This could be wildlife or man’s involvement in nature. 2.) Look for new directions to experiment which will force me to grow. Even if things don't work out, such attempts will only make me a better problem-solver/photographer in the end so the fear of failure should be denied.
Ultimately, it is this fear of failure that keeps so many of us from going through our own personal metamorphoses. However, we should always remember that regardless of what direction our careers take us in, we’ll continue to retain the memories of where we’ve come from. These experiences will always be there to serve as a guide, regardless of whether or not a new direction takes to the wing.